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First Look: 2010 HCSB Minister's Bible

I received my copy of the brand new 2010 HCSB Minister's Bible a couple of days ago from Amazon (I'd had it on pre-order since January of this year).

My previous copy of the HCSB Minister's Bible (2005) has been my most used Bible in the last five years for public teaching. I've even used the contemporary wedding ceremony in the ministerial helps section twice in wedding ceremonies I performed. I've also used this Bible for a couple of funerals I've led, although I didn't use the funeral messages provided in the back.

The original HCSB Minister's Bible wasn't perfect, but it was the best wide margin Bible available in the handful of translations I'm willing to use publicly. And the more I used it, the more I liked the HCSB. Again, the original edition wasn't without its flaws, but overall, I thought very positively toward this Bible as detailed in my original review back in 2007.

My chief complaint about the original edition (I was not the only one complaining) related to the very thin pages that often tended to curl after writing in the margins. Although I haven't written in this Bible yet (that will change before Sunday), I can report that the new HMB is indeed thicker than my original edition but contains essentially the same number of page (1806 for the original edition and 1824 for the new edition). But there's more to the difference in thickness than I originally thought. I learned just today that my original 2005 copy of the HMB had thinner paper than the later printings of the same edition. The 2010 HMB takes advantage of that same thicker paper in the later print runs.

Original HCSB Minister's Bible shown on top of 2010 edition. The new edition uses thicker paper than first and second run printings. Click to see larger image.Not only does the 2010 HMB have better paper, it has slightly wider margins for taking notes—always a welcome addition. Slightly is the keyword here. I am certain that these are officially considered one-inch margins in both editions. But when applying a standard ruler to the margins, I find that the 2005 edition is slightly less than one inch, while the 2010 edition is slightly more than one inch. The difference is only about a two to three milimeters. No doubt print runs could affect such small degrees of change, too. Nevertheless, I welcome even a little bit of extra space.

Slightly wider margins (in my measurements): 2010 edition on top.

When comparing the two editions, the text of the 2010 HMB has print that is much easier to read as well as subject headings that are slightly more bold than the original edition.

Of course, those of us who appreciate the HCSB had been waiting for was the updated 2009 biblical text most of all. The publishers are not calling this a second edition HCSB text, but from my examination of it—comparatively speaking—changes seem to be more extensive than the 2007 ESV text was to its original edition, but less so than the 2004 second edition NLT to the 1996 text. It's fair enough to say that there are at least minor improvements to the HCSB translation on every page and many major changes as well. I posted a preliminary survey of the changes to the text a few months ago, and I hope to write more on this in the future.

Note 2010 copyright for the HCSB Minister's Bible and 2009 copyright for the HCSB text.I continue to prefer the HCSB over other very good English translations due to its translational precision and willingness to break from tradition for the sake of accuracy (i.e. John 3:16). The 2009 text has not only made stylistic improvements, but it has also fixed odd translations such as in Eph 2:2 and the use of deluge in the original edition's passages of the flood story.

In spite of my praise of the updated translation, there are some passages I wish were rendered differently. For example, in contexts where Paul is clearly addressing men and women, I would prefer the HCSB render ἀδελφοί as "brothers and sisters" (or at least acknowledge such in a footnote as the ESV does). And I'm not wild about the masculine universal man in Gen 1:26 having seen firsthand it's potential to cause misunderstanding of the text among those who don't understand the generic use of the word. However, the benefits of the HCSB elsewhere are so great that I'm willing to use and even adapt the translation on the fly when I need to. And I believe I've earned this privilege when I've taken the time to study a passage in the original languages beforehand in my preparation for teaching it.

In my review of the original edition, I mentioned my hope that the publishers might consider moving the ministerial helps to the center of the Bible. When performing a wedding with this Bible in a more traditional, nearly one-hour service a couple of years ago, the lopsidedness of keeping it open to the back grew awkwardly heavy in my hands after a while. Unfortunately, this very helpful section of materials remain in the same place.

All of the ministerial helps that I listed in my original review remain in the 2010 edition. A new article has been added: "Eight Traits of Effective Church Leaders" by Thom Rainer. The concordance in the back has been updated to reflect the 2009 text; the full-color maps are the same.

The bonded leather cover of the original HMB was good quality for what it was, but many of us had requested a nicer cover. A couple of years ago, Lifeway released a "Limited Edition" HMB that included a handcrafted cowhide cover (see my pictures of this edition here), but to my knowledge, these were never sold in stores.

The 2010 HMB comes in two bindings: a genuine cowhide leather that looks identical to the limited edition cover and an edition with imitation leather. My copy, as can be seen in the pictures on this post, is the nicer cowhide edition. However, although I have not seen the imitation leather binding, I'm told that it is of very high quality polyurethane which has become a popular alternative to real leather in recent years. From what I understand, the imitation leather is actually more supple than the genuine cowhide and has the potential to outlast real leather. Surely, for the more budget-minded, the imitation leather will be a perfectly suitable choice, and most seeing it will probably believe it's actually leather.

This post isn't just another review for me. Beginning this Sunday, I am adopting the 2010 HCBS Minister's Bible as my primary teaching Bible. It's a bit sad to retire my previous edition, especially since it was the first Bible that I adopted when I stopped using the NASB for public use after nearly two decades. I've got quite a few notes in the margins of the previous edition, but I don't know that I will transfer them (unless I just transfer them to Accordance and BibleReader). There's something nice about starting fresh with a wide-margin Bible. In spite of the ability to make more extensive biblical notes electronically, I still enjoy using pen on paper making a minimalist set of "reminders" in the margin for when I teach the Bible.

Since the HCSB has now received it's post-initial release textual update, I'm under the assumption that the text will be fairly "set" for a while. With that and the improvements in the new HCSB Minister's Bible, I anticipate using this as a primary English Bible for at least a decade or more.

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What's "Like" the iPad? Give Me Your Ideas

I need your input.

Friday, I am presenting a session at IWU's "No Educator Left Behind" Conference regarding classroom instructional use with the iPad. I'm going to start with a Keynote presentation on the iPad, but eventually move to simple demonstration using a document camera.

I wanted to insert a video clip early on in the Keynote presentation demonstrating the iPad's ability to show video as part of a presentation. My first idea was to include a clip from the movie version of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy—the part where the Hitchhiker's Guide is actually introduced—because the iPad is kind of like the Hitchhiker's Guide in some ways.

But upon watching that clip again, I think it's a bit too sacrilegious in content for the context and might even take away from my presentation. Therefore, what would you think of as an appropriate, brief (1 to 2 min. max) clip related to the iPad?

And I don't mean simply an iPad commercial. Let's assume everyone's seen those. I'm looking for something parallel in concept to the iPad from a movie or television show. If you've got any good ideas, please leave them in the comments below.


Register Now for the Accordance Users Conference: September 24-25

If you're an Accordance user, or even if you're just interested in the interaction of Bible and technology, you want to make plans now to attend the first Accordance Users Conference in Mesquite, Texas on September 24-25, 2010.

There are two keynote speakers lined up: Dr. Martin Abegg of Trinity Western University and Dr. Daniel Wallace of Dallas Theological Seminary, plus a number of other speakers on a variety of topics related to Accordance, the Bible, and technology.

I will be taking part in two panel discussions: "The Impact and Future of Mobile Bible Software" and "Ask the Accordance Experts." A full schedule of all sessions can be downloaded in PDF form.

Read more details about the conference, including location, registration information and costs at the Accordance Users Conference webpage.

See you there!


Early Reflections on the Lost Finale

A friend from my high school days asked me on FaceBook what I thought of the Lost finale. After some pondering last night and then sleeping on it, here are my initial thoughts. I wrote most of this on FaceBook, but decided it might go well here, too.

My friend asked me, "What was 'real' and what was not??!!" Here is my initial answer.

All along the writers had said that the events on the island were not a dream, not hell and not purgatory.

But what threw me was the final scene and then the last shot. The final scene, of course, being that they were all dead and gathered in the church. And then, the final shot showed the airplane wreckage which made me think that perhaps they had all died in the airplane wreck at the very beginning of the show six years ago. That would have been a bit of a cheat to me, but that was my immediate thought right as the show ended.

But after reflecting on things for a couple of hours afterwards, and listening to the initial exchange between Jimmy Kimmel and Matthew Fox on Kimmel's sendoff show last night (ironically, the rest of the actors seemed clueless about much of the show), and then sleeping on it, I believe my initial conclusions were wrong.

If everyone died in the initial plane crash, then the writers simply lied for six years in all of their interviews. Let's assume this is not the case and that the passengers of Oceanic 815 did not die in the crash.

Therefore, everything that happened on the island was "real," but the writers did play a bit of a trick on us in that the flash-sideways of season six, was in fact, a kind of purgatory (for lack of a better word).

Part of the key is to go back and listen to Christian Shepherd's explanation to Jack at the end. "This is the place that all of you made together, so that you could find one another." The people in the church had formed an inseparable bond with each other due to the events that had taken place on the island—a bond that lasted even into death. This was the outcome of Jack's first season speech "We either live together, or we die alone." Because they had chosen to live together, they were now united even in death.

Note that Michael wasn't there. He had betrayed them. We had already learned he was still on the island, like a ghost unable to move on. Ben was invited to the church, but didn't feel like he was quite ready—even though he had been made aware of what was happening. There's really a lot of emphasis on SELF-redemption in the show as opposed to the redemption of Christ, although there was certainly a strong emphasis on elements of Christian tradition throughout the show.

There had been hints to the reality of the flash-sideways existence, though. Eloise Hawking/Widmore, who seemed to be more in the know than anyone, in both the "real world" and the afterlife, was very concerned that her son Daniel not be "awakened" just yet, no doubt because she felt guilt over killing him and wanted more time with him. Why she couldn't get that time together with him in eternity is a question I can't answer.

Plus, all of their lives were a bit idealized based on what they would have hoped for in life. Hurley was lucky, not unlucky. Locke had a good relationship with his father (there was a picture of them together in an earlier episode this season) and his fiance, Helen. Jack was a successful surgeon and had a son with Juliet, whom he got along with well, even though they were divorced. Sawyer was on the right side of the law instead of the wrong side. The only ones who didn't seem to have it so well were Kate and Sayid, but I suppose the particulars could be played with and argued.

Thus, I presume that when the plane left the island with Lapidus, Kate, Sawyer, Miles, Richard, and Claire, it really did leave and they would have lived the rest of their lives off the island. More evidence of this—Hurley told Ben at the church that Ben had made a very good Number 2, which implies they went on to have a full life with other experiences and adventures on the island.

Were the bigger questions of the show answered? Not really. Exactly what was the energy source of the island and what was the island itself? Who originally made all the rules? We don't know. The writers said that they were not intending to answer all the questions.

There had been speculation for years that Lost was based on some kind of ancient mythology, and while there are certainly elements and themes from various mythologies, in the end, the writers seemed to be writing a new mythology for the island all on its own.

So, the energy source becomes something symbolic and not specific.

That will be enough for some viewers, but not for others. Some of the folks who wanted very specific answers will be disappointed. Others, who can live without having every single question answered will be fine and perhaps enjoy some of the debate as to what these things mean.

But what do you really want? One of the most disappointing scenes I've ever seen in cinema was the whole "scientific" explanation of the Force as the result of something called "midichlorians" in The Phantom Menace. I really don't want that level of detail. So, while perhaps I will always have questions over the nature of the island on Lost, I'll have to settle for the fact that it was simply a magical place where the normal laws of physics and time do not apply.

The above is what I have so far. I'm still reflecting. I'm certain there will be discussion for years to come.

Good series, though. I'd have to put it in my top ten, if I had one for TV shows. No doubt, it would be fun to "study" in detail once the final series is released on Blu-ray.


First Look: NLT Study Bible for Accordance

UPDATE: The NLT Study Bible is now available to purchase and download.

Tomorrow (May 20), OakTree Software will release The NLT Study Bible for Accordance. In addition to the NLTSB, this will also mark the release of the 2007 NLTse text and notes for Accordance. OakTree has given me permission to post a few screenshots.

Click on the images below for a closer view.

The Instant Details info displays the result of hovering over the key number (1249) in the cross references. An article from the NLT Study Bible The high-res maps in the back of the NLTSB are also included in addition to the many other images.Look for a full review on This Lamp in the coming days.



Proposal Accepted: "The Empty Book Bag: Digital Instruction Using the iPad & Related Technologies"

My proposal has been accepted for Indiana Wesleyan University's No Educator Left Behind Conference on June 18 in Greenwood, Indiana. I will give a 50 minute presentation titled "The Empty Book Bag: Digital Instruction Using the iPad and Related Technologies." Here is the description/Abstract I submitted to the review committee (I was limited to 75 words—a difficult task for me on any day):

2010 may be the year that we begin the transition to digital content as a mainstream practice. This session demonstrates how the IWU facilitator can "leave the book bag at home" and use one tablet device for course guides, lesson plans, textbooks and even presentations on a projector. Is a textbook not available in digital form? This session will show you how to convert a book from its physical format to digital for use on any platform.

I also offered this explanation in the proposal as well:

Much has been written about the iPad as a media consumption device, but many are discovering that it's quite capable for creating content as well. And while tablet computers seem ideal for students as a digital textbook medium, not much has yet been discussed in regard to how instructors can use these devices both in and out of the classroom. This session focuses primarily on the use of tablet computers as convenient tools for classroom instruction. After having often been loaded down with materials in multiple bags when walking into the classroom myself, a tablet computer allows the facilitator the freeing ability to “travel light.”

Apple Finally Approves OliveTree's BibleReader for the iPad

OliveTree Software had their iPhone BibleReader  app  updated for the iPad well in advance of the iPad's April 3 launch day. Then, for some inexplicable reason, at the last minute, Apple flagged BibleReader and did not give it approval. This was a big disappointment for me and a lot of users who were looking forward to BibleReader on the iPad immediately when we got our iPads. Many of us checked multiple times a day, assuming that any moment Apple would give the green light.

Greek LXX & Hebrew Bible side by side. Note popup with English gloss and parsing information. Notepad icons next to Gen 1:1 represent personal notes.In the end, it took over a month for the iPad BibleReader to get the go-ahead from Apple. Why they took so long, I have no idea. OliveTree's been making Bible software for quite a long time, so by now BibleReader is quite mature, feature-wise (I was even using it way back when on Palm devices). The iPad BibleReader app has an in-app store for purchases of new biblical texts, commentaries and other add-ons which at this moment even Amazon's Kindle app for the iPad doesn't offer. This makes it convenient for adding texts without having to go to OliveTree's website, but it also makes me wonder if this level of sophistication wasn't also part of the holdup from Apple.

The NLT Study Bible adapted for the iPad. Study notes can either be viewed in a separate pane at the bottom of the screen or by clicking on NLT logo icons within the text.Regardless, it's out now and none too soon. Next week, I'll have a full review of BibleReader for the iPad in the same vein of the two iPad Bible apps I've already reviewed on This Lamp.

I can tell you right now, though: if you could only have one Bible app on your iPad, you'd want to make it OliveTree's BibleReader. It's that great.


When Buying eBooks on the iPad, It Pays to Shop Around

Yesterday, I was looking for the book This Is Your Brain on Joy by Dr. Earl Henslin. Now that I have my iPad, and it has proved to be an effective means for book reading, I really don't have much desire to buy a physical book if I can avoid it. As you probably know, there are two primary eBook apps on the iPad so far: Amazon's Kindle iPad app and Apple's iBooks app.

Currently, there are more books available for the Kindle app by a wide margin. There's not a lot of functional difference between these two apps when it comes to book reading in my own experience. The Kindle app has the ability to include one's own notes which I hope that Apple will add to the iBooks app. Apple's iBooks app has a built in dictionary which is very handy when coming across a word for which I'm uncertain of the meaning. If memory serves, a dictionary is included in the physical Kindle, so maybe this will be added later.

Both apps allow for highlighting and bookmarks. Also, both apps have access to their respective stores, but Apple's iBooks Store is internal to the app while the Kindle app shells out to the Amazon site via Safari.

The most glaring difference between the two readers relates to searching. I can search for any word or phrase in Apple's iBooks, but not in Amazon's Kindle app for the iPad. The ability to search for words in an electronic text is one feature that makes the digital superior to the physical. Even when books have indexes, the reader is left to the mercy of what the indexer thought was important. I'm hopeful that Amazon will plug this glaring hole in the Kindle app.

Anyway, when I looked up the book in each respective store, I was very pleased to see that it was available in both apps. What surprised me was the difference in price. Generally most eBooks are different in price from their physical counterparts, but I was surprised to see such a difference between the two eBook stores.

The Amazon Kindle price for Henslin's book was $13.79.


The Apple iBook's price for the same book was $9.99!


Of course, I suppose I shouldn't have been quite so surprised. I guess I just wouldn't have thought I'd see nearly a $4 difference between the two stores. Thus, if you don't have any hard and fast objections against one store or the other, it will really pay to shop around when purchasing eBooks on your iPad.

I've heard that Barnes & Noble is introducing a Nook app soon as well. I say bring 'em on! Competition can be a very good thing!


Living with the iPad: One Month In

The six coveted spots. What's on your iPad dock?The iPad is not a perfect device. I noted some of its shortcomings in my initial reflections after having it for two days. Having said that, a month has now passed, and despite some of its flaws (and my hope and assumption that certain issues will improve), I can say that the iPad has become a fixed part of my routine. In fact, it is my primary mobile computer.

Not a laptop replacement (yet), but definitely better than a netbook.
A week or so after getting my iPad, a former student contacted me to ask whether or not he should get an iPad or a MacBook for school. He said that he would primarily be using it for email, surfing the internet and word processing. I had to ask him if he had a decent computer already since at this stage, the iPad is not an independent platform. He said that was the deal breaker and he would have to get a MacBook for now.

And that's the thing that a lot of people still don't understand: the iPad does not yet completely replace a personal computer. It's dependent upon a personal computer, in fact, right out of the box. The iPad is clearly designed for secondary purposes—for use on the go, and will end up replacing many, but not all, of the functions that might often be done on a laptop.

I bought a netbook last November. I wanted something smaller than my 15" MacBook Pro to take with me to meetings, to church, to the coffee shop, for use on the couch while watching television. The netbook itself was a nice little machine, especially after I upped its memory to 2 GB of RAM. But the netbook experience was not enjoyable. I tried it with both a Hackintosh version of OS X and Windows 7 Pro installed. Both actually ran fine on it. But the cramped keyboard and awkward size made it undesirable for me. As soon as Apple announced the iPad in January, I sold the netbook on eBay.

Just this week, I was in the library when I saw a student writing a term paper on a netbook. I noticed him typing with only half of his digits to accommodate the keyboard. I mentally shook my head. Really he needed a laptop, but I honestly think that even an iPad would have been better for the task.

The mobile writer's dream: the iPad and keyboard dock

I have no problem with the virtual keyboard on the iPad when using it in landscape mode. Even Kathy commented recently how fast I type on it. But when on a desk, I like to use Apple's keyboard dock. I love the minimalist feel of the iPad sitting at a vertical angle from the aluminum keyboard. It's fast, handy, and in my opinion a writer's portable dream device. So compact, so easy to carry. Write anywhere.

Perhaps a laptop replacement after all.
Since 1991, I've always had a desktop and laptop computer simultaneously. The desktop computer was kind of the "family computer"; the laptop was my computer "on the go."
Initially, a laptop was not capable of being a "main computer" due to limitations in hard drive sizes and processor power. While high end desktops are still technically more powerful than laptops, technology has finally caught the laptop up a good bit. The MacBook Pro I bought in late 2008 has a 7200 RPM 500 GB hard drive (not the original hard drive, but an upgrade) and a 2.8 GHz processor. When I bought it, I decided that I was going to make the laptop my main machine and let the aging PowerMac G5 demote to a secondary machine. I purposefully bought an high end MacBook Pro with the intention of keeping it five years—longer than any time I've kept a laptop in the past.

Maybe when I go to get a new computer in 2013, perhaps I will opt not to get a laptop. Perhaps for the same money, I could get a decent iMac and an iPad. Maybe really, I don't need a laptop anymore because of the iPad.

What the iPad Can Do.
See, here's the thing. When I originally ordered my iPad, my hopes were that it could do perhaps 50% to 2/3 of what I normally do with a laptop. I'd say that the reality is that it's closer to 90%. The iPad has clearly become my preferred mobile computer in only a month's time. If I can carry it and leave the MacBook Pro at home, I do. I carry the iPad to meetings, to church—really everywhere. Remember the days when a leather bound daytimer was always at your side (or maybe it still is)? That's what I do with my iPad. Even in places where I probably won't need it, I can let it tag along in my hand in case I need to look up something, add an event to a calendar, or even if I have a few minutes simply to read.

In fact, the other day, I was stuck in traffic. Really bad traffic. Cars weren't going anywhere. After a while, I shut off my engine, pulled out my iPad and simply began to read. Sure, I could have done that with a physical book, but with the iPad, I was carrying dozens of books with me—my own personal multivolume library.

What the iPad Can't Do.
I wrote a post about teaching on the iPad. It's great for that and allows me to walk into a classroom or Bible study at church without having to carry an entire bag of materials, books and my laptop as I've often done in the past. But there are limitations.

Most people who have used Keynote on the iPad complain about its lack of a true presenter screen. No preview, no notes, not even a mirror of what's on the projector. Okay, I assume all that's coming, but it's a pain for us early adopters. I don't like having to print out notes because that seems so very five years ago. Of course, when I occasionally teach a public speaking class, I tell my students that presentation slides should enhance one's presentation; it should not be one's presentation.

And while that's true, the other day in a writing class I wanted to use a Keynote file I'd prepared a while back that covers basic grammar rules. And contrary to the advice to my speaking class, this Keynote file was the presentation. I mean, this kind of lesson requires rules and examples to be displayed in front of the students. I can't simply talk about the rule and then show a few illustrations. In fact, in this Keynote file, there are no presenter notes. Everything is on the slide.

So to present that from the iPad to a projector meant that I would have had to have my back turned to the class for most of the presentation. A simple remote would have solved the problem, but for the moment, there are no remote control solutions for using Keynote on the iPad. I did end up using the Apple remote control which allowed me to walk around the class during our discussion over the slides on the screen. But I had to present it from my MacBook, not my Keynote. Clearly, this particular lesson was best suited from the laptop than the iPad. This is something that a few enhancements to the Keynote software on the iPad would fix.

Another issue related to teaching— I cannot use the iPad to evaluate essays written by students. I use Word's commenting system in my evaluation and scoring of student papers. iWork Pages does not have this functionality. And even though this is a version one program, I somehow doubt that Apple's iWork Team has commenting high on their list of features to add.

Further, the grading software I use, Gradekeeper, does not have an iPad version and probably will not get one in the future. The program's designer has publicly expressed his skepticism as to the iPad's potential as a mainstream device to be used by teachers (I highly disagree) as well as admitted to his lack of knowledge in Objective C, the iPad's primary programming language. This is too bad as I believe the iPad would be ideal for grade recording, and I really like Gradekeeper, having used it since the nineties. For teachers in traditional primary and secondary classrooms, I could easily see the iPad as a convenient device for walking up student rows, evaluating assignments.

Of course, I expect we'll eventually see gradebook software on the iPad. One app is already available, but it is very limited in scope. I'm very used to Gradekeeper's under-the-hood power and features such as emailed student progress reports that I've come to rely on. But as long as I'm having to grade papers on my MacBook Pro anyway, I suppose having my gradebook on the Mac as well is not too big of an issue for now.

A Game Changer? Ask My Wife.
Kathy got an iPad on the same day I did. It's been interesting to see her interact and even take to the iPad on an increasing scale. I say that because really, in the big scheme of things, she's much more practical than me on these kinds of things. I can often use technology just for the sake of technology. Just the other day, a friend commented to me that I was having to go through a number of extra steps (referring specifically to file transfers) just to be able to do some things on the iPad. While I do think there's a great payoff in the freedom to travel much lighter with the iPad in the scenarios I've described already, I also admit that sometimes I am guilty of using technology for technology's sake. In other words, I'm not always the most practical person when it comes to technology. Sometimes I use it simply because I like using it.

When the iPad was first announced, my initial intent was not to get one—at least not the first generation. As I've said in other posts, it was the presentation of the iWork suite that changed my mind. And that didn't happen overnight, but rather over the next few weeks as I pondered the iPad's potential as a both a teaching tool and a content creation device.

However, I did immediately suggest to Kathy that she ought to get one. Kathy is the Library Media/Textbooks Consultant for the Kentucky Department of Education (I simply call her Kentucky's Book Czar). Over the next half decade or so, I believe a lot of our schools will transition to digital textbooks. Although Kathy will undoubtedly not be in that position when that transition fully takes place, it's an issue that's continuously being brought to the table now. I felt she ought to be able to evaluate digital textbooks as they come along, so I suggested the iPad.

Well, Kathy's taken to the iPad in lots of ways besides books just as I have, but it's been very interesting to watch her—someone who's been a librarian for 18 years—essentially rethink the physical book paradigm.

First, for the last two weeks, rather than taking her two-inch-thick NLT Life Application Study Bible to church, Kathy simply takes her iPad. Honestly, her switch from a physical Bible to a digital one this quickly has surprised me. I'm going to set her up on OliveTree's BibleReader with the NLT Study Bible once the OliveTree app is released, but in the meantime, she's had no real problem using the YouVersion except for one instance in which she couldn't get wi-fi reception.

Second, last Sunday, we went to a Books-A-Million in Louisville so that I could look for a supplemental grammar book to recommend to my writing class. I carried my iPad in with me because I wanted to find a book that was available both in physical form as well as available electronically and wanted to be able to look up titles as needed. Since I was taking my iPad in, Kathy did, too. After a while of looking at books, I found her in a leather chair and sat down beside her. She looked at me, and waving her arm around the shelves of books we were sitting between said, "You know, with the iPad, it doesn't make sense anymore to me to invest in these kinds [i.e. physical] of books. They cost more money and they take up space."

Really, I was a bit shocked. Now, keep in mind, please, that she was speaking in regard to personal purchases and not someone representing Kentucky state government. But it's really an astounding comment from someone in her position if you think about it—someone who has been a librarian, managing physical books for almost two decades.

And I don't disagree with her sentiment. I make about $30/month from Amazon ads placed in some of my posts on this site when I'm reviewing a book. When I got my most recent redemption code from Amazon a few days ago, I spent the entire amount on digital books that I could read on my iPad in the Kindle app.

Yeah, I think the iPad is going to be a game changer. That's becoming more than just hype surrounding the device. In regard to books, I think I'd now be more incline to buy a book if it were available digitally than if it only came out in physical form. Of course, even physical books can be converted to digital books. I've already done this with a book, and I'll detail the steps in a future post.

Follow-up: finding the perfect iPad case.
A week or so ago, I blogged about my so-far-failed attempt to find the perfect case for the iPad. I really liked the portfolio-style case that Apple makes and had bought one with my iPad, but thought I'd like something similar perhaps with a pocket or two in the front cover and some kind of flap that lifted up to allow it to be used with the keyboard dock while still in the case. I wrote about my foolish attempt to mod my case to accommodate the keyboard dock.

Well, I've come to the conclusion that for right now, the best case for me is simply the original Apple case; although I'd like to eventually replace the one I've mangled :-(

But I decided that if I put the iPad in a case that had "stuff" in the front cover, I would be moving away from the thin, lightweight form factor that I currently have. Right now, I can fold the cover back and read the iPad in bed like a book. Why would I want to mess that up? As for fitting the keyboard dock, I've actually discovered that after taking the iPad out of the case numerous times, it gets much easier to slide in and out. So this may not be as much of a problem as I initially thought it was.

Full Disclosure.
I suppose with all this praise of the iPad, I should disclose here on This Lamp that Kathy and I now own a couple of shares of Apple stock (not much, but a start!). But that's not why I'm praising the iPad. We bought the stock because of how impressed we were with the device and how much potential and influence we believe it will have in the coming years.


First Look: Copying Greek Text from BibleReader to Pages on the iPad

From the very first day I had my iPad, I tried to find a way to copy original language biblical text from any applicable app to Pages for the iPad. I couldn't find any app on the iPad at the time that allowed me to do this, but had to resort to loading a document on my Mac with Greek text from Accordance and then transferring it to the iPad.

Therefore, I'm very thrilled to see how easy this is to do using Olive Tree's Bible Reader for the iPad (full review forthcoming). Copying text is quite easy. You touch the verse number and a dialogue box appears offering a number of options, including text copy. Selecting that allows you to specify one or more verses.


Then, in Pages, the text pastes perfectly just as I hoped it would:

I found that the Greek text could be moved around, but I could not compose in Greek. The text as shown above is in the Helvetica font (the default in Pages), but if someone wanted a more serifed look, it can be changed to Times New Roman with results that look similar to the text as originally displayed in BibleReader.

Unfortunately, my attempt to copy Hebrew text was unsuccessful. I could copy the text in BibleReader, but when I tried to paste in Pages, nothing came through except the verse reference. This isn't a flaw in either BibleReader or Pages, but relates to the iPad's current lack of a Hebrew keyboard.

Although I was able to transfer a document with Unicode Hebrew from my computer to the iPad when I tried a month ago, I found this text to be nearly unusable as it could not be easily manipulated. My hunch is that like on the iPhone, we may have to wait a year or two (or at least until the iPad goes on sale in Israel) before Hebrew is easy to work with in Pages.

Regardless, the ability to at least work with Greek text from BibleReader in a word processor moves the iPad one step closer to becoming a tool for serious academic work in biblical studies. I was also delighted to see that the text in BibleReader remains in the same place as it did when I switched to Pages. That means that even though there is no true multitasking on the iPad (this will change in the Fall), there is no real difficulty in going back and forth between the biblical text and a word processor.


Stay tuned. More to come...