I know you'll think I'm wishy washy, but after declaring last month that I wanted a Kindle in spite of the iPad, I've changed my mind. Maybe this was the genius of Apple. Rather than letting anyone order an iPad right away, we all had to wait and think about it for a bit. Perhaps others like me who were not completely sold have become so in the intervening weeks.
Last week over breakfast, I told a friend of mine that I thought I might want an iPad after all.
"Of course you do," he said, not surprised at all.
But wait, you people who think you know me so well—let me explain.
First, as you remember, I was not one of those folks who dissed the iPad. From the very beginning I've thought this would be a significant device. I think it's going to be huge for education. I also think it's going to be all the computer a lot of folks would need at all.
As for me, as I told you, I've been wanting an e-reader—specifically a Kindle—ever since I held one in my hand last year. And if this were just an issue of a Kindle vs. the iPad as an e-reader, I'd go with the Kindle. I still think the Kindle's e-ink is going to be easier on the eyes than the screen of an iPad if you actually use the thing for reading for hours at a time.
But that's not the issue. For me, the iPad has a killer app: Keynote.
It's the idea of Keynote on the iPad that's been working away at me for the past four weeks. I watched Steve Jobs' presentation of the iPad with interest, but not expecting to actually want one anytime soon. I felt the second generation device would be better to wait for.
But then it happened. Keynote and the rest of the iWork applications were a total surprise. They were an unexpected development.
I teach from Keynote every week. I use it at church, and I use it in the classroom at IWU. Now, hold that thought just for a second.
I love my 15" MacBook Pro. It's hands down the best Mac I've ever owned (and I've owned a few of them!). I have it with me nearly everywhere I go. And that is part of the problem. I know we're spoiled compared to the computers we used two decades ago (most of which were not portable at all). Yet, often my MacBook Pro is more computer than what I actually need. Often I wish for something smaller. Kathy has a MacBook air, the lightest and most portable Mac that Apple makes. But I didn't want to spend that much on a secondary computer.
So last November, after receiving a bit more birthday money from family than I expected (it doesn't hurt that I'm both an only child and an only son-in-law), I bought a netbook.
I know what you're thinking.
You're thinking, "Wait a minute, Apple doesn't make a netbook." Yes, you're right. For the first time since I bought that Dell Pentium Pro in 1996, I bought a Windows machine. I bought an Acer Aspire One which came with Windows XP Home. But the flavor of Windows didn't matter. I didn't plan to keep it. I planned to Hackintosh it.
I wanted a Hackintoshed netbook for two reasons: (1) to teach using Keynote, and (2) for those times when I don't need a full computer such as if I need to go to a meeting to take a few notes.
And I did. After a number of trial and error attempts, I managed to get Mac OS X Leopard running on that Acer. I installed iWork including Keynote and I was ready to go. It was really slick, working better than I thought. Because of MobileMe, my calendar, contacts, and email were synced perfectly between the Acer Hackintosh and my MacBook Pro. Accordance worked no different than it would on a Mac. I even put an Apple sticker on the back of the Acer which looked pretty funny.
I used it at church a couple of times teaching and everything was great. Great, that is until it all fell apart in early January. If karma was a Christian concept, I'd be tempted to believe that I was getting what I deserved for trying to teach the Bible from a computer with an OS installed in clear violation of the end user license agreement. You see, Apple does not allow it's operating system to be installed on non-Apple hardware. Evidently the sticker wasn't enough.
On one fateful morning, I plugged the Acer Hackintosh into a projector that was already receiving a video feed from another source. The screen on the Acer went white and I never could get it back to normal. In researching the issue, I discovered that there was a problem with the specific video driver being used in the Hackintoshed version of OS X. It didn't play well with projectors.
At that point I gave up on the Hackintosh idea. Having to reinstall wasn't the issue. I needed my computer to work when I needed it. I couldn't afford unreliable equipment. Heck, that was what made me a Mac user to begin with!
So I installed Windows 7 on the Acer thinking I could still use it for occasional note taking. Well, it just sat there. I have been using Macs too long and a Windows machine simply doesn't do much for me. And I even tried using OneNote which so many Windows users rave about. It just wasn't enough.
So my Acer netbook sat unused. And the iPad with Keynote kept weighing on me. So I made the decision and sold my Acer on eBay. Now I have more than half the cash for an iPad.
I can envision teaching from Keynote both at church and in the classroom using nothing but the iPad. Last night, I went to a deacons meeting in which we had about half a dozen different reports that had been emailed out before the meeting. Although I took my laptop to the meeting (I usually do this rather than printing out reports I would only throw away later), I thought to myself sitting there that really, I could do all of that on an iPad and carry much less around. And I think of all those times that I wish I could sit in church and take notes on a laptop, but I never do because somehow it feels overly conspicuous. I can't imagine that I'd have the same reservation with an iPad.
An iPad couldn't replace everything I do on my MacBook Pro, but I bet it could do more than half of it. So many times a computer is more than what I need.
So now I wait for the iPad. I mentioned this to a different friend of mine yesterday. "Why on earth would you want an iPad?" he asked with great incredulity. I simply replied "For all those times that I could do so much more with less."
I know you'll think I'm wishy washy, but after declaring last month that I wanted a Kindle in spite of the iPad, I've changed my mind. Maybe this was the genius of Apple. Rather than letting anyone order an iPad right away, we all had to wait and think about it for a bit. Perhaps others like me who were not completely sold have become so in the intervening weeks.
Yes, I'm in the 80%.
Last week, Intuit released the first version of Quicken for the Mac in about three and a half years (Quicken 2007 was released in Fall 2006). It's new name is Quicken Essentials for Mac. It does have a "2010" designation, but this is downplayed appearing nowhere in the program itself. The only place I can see it is in the top right corner of the retail box.
Let me say up front that Quicken on the Mac was the first step in changing my financial life. Keeping up with one's checking account takes discipline, and in the early years of our marriage, Kathy and I weren't all that disciplined. We did not regularly balance the checkbook. Actually, that's an understatement. I usually had very little to do with it anyhow, but I can remember times when we would try to catch up on months of statements at a time. And one time it got so bad that we had to start a new account and let the old account die. I'm not proud of any of that, but my hunch is that some of you are guilty of no less.
All of that changed in 2002 when I got a new Mac that came with Quicken installed. Keeping track of one's checking and savings accounts is not all that exciting to me. I'm not even an overly organized person by nature, but I try really hard to be. But there's something about doing things on the computer that appeals to me. If I were faced with manually reconciling my accounts every month by hand like in the old days, we might still be in a financial mess. But if I can do it on the computer—no problem.
And that's where Quicken really helped me. Reconciling my accounts in Quicken is so easy that I usually have it done in 10 to 15 minutes. And get this—since using Quicken, I have not had to make an adjustment to our accounts ever. In fact, although I still correct an error here or there, I have balanced to the penny every month since I started using Quicken in 2002. That's amazing to me even now.
And yet, all is not such a rosy picture for many Quicken users on Macs. The reality is that Quicken on the Mac has never been as robust as Quicken in Windows. A friend of mine, who happened to be a heavy Quicken user, converted to the Mac last year. As I was helping him move from Windows, he was horrified at the limitations of Quicken on the Mac platform. He begrudgingly set up Parallels so that he could run Windows on his Mac—simply to keep doing the things he was used to in Quicken.
There are other reasons that Mac users show little love for Quicken and Intuit, the company that publishes it. I hear tales of versions in the nineties that scrambled users' financial data when they upgraded. I don't know all the details—especially because my eyes will glaze over at some point when discussions about finances become too involved—but Quicken on the Mac has never been able to do all the things with investments, stocks and the like that is possible in Windows. Some banks that allowed Quicken for Windows users to download transactions wouldn't allow Mac users to do the same thing.
Now, hear me carefully—I'm not downplaying any of the issues that people have who are sore at Intuit over the lousy state of Quicken on the Mac. If any of those issues had affected me, I'm sure I'd be sore, too. But evidently, I'm in part of the 80% of basic use that Intuit has addressed in the new version for the Mac. Thus the name, "Quicken Essentials for Mac."
Evidently, 80% of Quicken users simply use it like I do for keeping track of accounts, connecting to one's bank for cleared transactions and the like. Right now if a Mac user is heavily dependent upon Quicken for online bill pay, investment tracking, and exporting their data to TurboTax, they will still want to use Quicken 2007 (or a Windows version through Bootcamp, Parallels, or VMFusion) until at least next year when hopefully the new version will have more of these features. The promise in ongoing releases is toward parity with the Windows version, but in the decision to rebuild Quicken from the ground up, Intuit decided they could either release an "essential" version this year or wait until next year with a more full-featured version. I think they made the right decision, but Intuit has used up so much of their good will in the Mac community that whatever they would have done would have been criticized. It's going to take a long time for Intuit to get back in good graces with many Mac users.
Personally, I believe they're on the right track. I don't actually think any software program needs a yearly update, but Mac users were sore when they kept seeing new versions for Windows, but we were stuck with Quicken 2007 (released in 2006) on their computers. Quicken 2007 was a program designed for PowerPC processors instead of Intel processors which have been in new Macs since 2006. Intel-based Macs can run PowerPC programs through an emulation layer called Rosetta, but it can create a drag on one's computer so generally it's to be avoided if possible.
The new version of Quicken Essentials is built in Cocoa, Mac OS X's native programming environment. In fact, it's designated on the about screen as version 1.1 (Quicken 2007/Mac says it is version 16). And it looks like a modern Mac program, too. I saw one reviewer that said Quicken Essentials looked like a distant cousin of the iWork suite. It does (and I find it interesting that iWork is now setting the standards for how a Mac app should look and behave). Quicken Essentials has the standard blue narrow column on the left like iTunes or the Apple Mail app and a wider space to the right for one's data. The left column lists your accounts as well Tools (functions that Quicken can perform with your data), Reports, and a basic budget creator based upon one's spending.
I've spent a few days using it. I paid bills with it Saturday and reconciled my checking and savings accounts. I've downloaded cleared transactions from my bank. I was able to do all of this even without having to set up my banking information again because Quicken Essentials did a more than adequate job of converting my Quicken 2007/Mac data over. The new Quicken Essentials will also do something that no previous version could do: it will convert Quicken for Windows data as well as data from the now defunct Microsoft Money. Previously a person moving from Windows to the Mac could convert their data over, but it was a tedious manual process requiring multiple steps.
Since Quicken Essentials has been built from the ground up, it feels very much like a 1.0 program which it essentially is. There are even a few things that it won't do yet that I was used to in the previous version. For instance, on Saturday, I tried to transfer money between savings and checking accounts. In Quicken 2007, I could set this up from Quicken as an online transaction. Quicken would then connect to my bank, transfer the money in my accounts, and then record the transactions in both accounts on my computer. If this is still possible, I couldn't figure out how to do it. I finally went to my bank's website, made the transactions there, and then recorded it into Quicken Essentials myself.
There are little things that are different as well. By default check numbers weren't listed in my registry and I had to turn these on. In previous versions a "C" appeared by transactions that had cleared my bank and an "R" beside transactions after I had reconciled that period in my account. Now its a check on a radio button if it's cleared and a green check if it's reconciled. I'm used to that now, but it was not immediately apparent.
Many things are just handled differently such as one row of data per transactions instead of two in previous versions. This means that I cannot as easily place Quicken on the left and my monthly budget spreadsheet in Numbers on the right. Quicken Essentials simply takes up more horizontal space and there's nothing that can be done to change that.
Also, in previous versions of Quicken, when I connected to my bank to download cleared transactions, I was met with a window listing all of these items allowing me to accept or reject them. Quicken Essentials gives me no such window of information. It automatically matches the cleared transactions to a transaction I've previously recorded in my registry adding a blue dot in one column. The problem with this? Well, 99% of the time, Quicken matches my transactions correctly, but occasionally, it's not correct. Now I cannot reject a matched transaction and will have to give my registry extra scrutiny to make certain everything is done correctly.
Essentially (pun intended) however, I have the same functionality (for my purposes) in Quicken Essentials for Mac that I had in Quicken 2007. I like the new interface overall, and I'm pleased to see that Intuit has started over and promised to do things right, regardless of how painful the process has been for them and they're customers. In spite of a few things lacking, I'm pleased to be using this new version and I look forward to improvements and added features as Intuit continues to develop the program.
I make a “What are you doing?” look with my eyes.
Kathy whispers, "I couldn’t remember what you were wearing. I always like to remember what you’re wearing.”
I make the same look with my eyes, this time meaning, “And why…?”
“Just in case you’re kidnapped,” Kathy whispers.
So, it caught my eye when I saw that according to the translators of the HCSB, Jesus was "distressed and horrified" (ἐκθαμβεῖσθαι καὶ ἀδημονεῖν) in Mark 14:33. It's this latter word, horrified, that really caught my attention. Was Jesus horrified in the Garden? Distressed, yes. Troubled, yes. But horrified? I mean, when I hear the word, horrified, I think of Edvard Munch's painting, The Scream. Thus, I wondered if the HCSB translator's simply over-translated here.
Honestly, even though I'd translated through this section in Mark at least twice in the past, I'd never given much extra thought to these two descriptors of Jesus' mental and emotional condition here, thinking of them as not much more than synonyms. Most translations make some variation on the words "distressed and troubled" sometimes even switching the two English words. Consider other translations of the phrase: "deeply distressed and troubled" (NIV/TNIV/NLTse), "greatly distressed and troubled" (RSV/ESV) , "to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy" (KJV), "to be distressed and agitated" (NRSV), "to be very distressed and troubled" (NASB), "troubled and deeply distressed" (NKJV), "very troubled and distressed" (NET). In my scan of translations using Accordance (I did not consult the 80+ translations on my bookshelf), I could find only two other translations besides the HCSB that used the word horror: "filled with horror and deep distress" (NLT1) and "Horror and anguish overwhelmed him" (REB).
My initial label on the whole issue was simply over-translation. I figured the HCSB translators were guilty of over-translating the text here. If that was the case, I supposed that a more traditional reading would be found in the updated 2009 text of the HCSB.
Not so. It read the same. This led me to the lexicons I have in Accordance. But even before I could do that, I had to consider the fact because troubled and distressed were interchangeable in many translations, and because the NLT1 and the REB placed horror in the first position, I wasn't really certain whether I was dealing with ἐκθαμβέω or ἀδημονέω in the HCSB. The use of the conjunction καὶ would technically allow for either order in an English translation.
Context does not help that much. These are both infrequently used words (I admit up front that I didn't have them in my working vocabulary for the NT, but I suppose I do now). ἐκθαμβέω occurs four times in the NT (Mark 9:15; 14:33; 16:5–6) and ἀδημονέω occurs three times (Matt 26:37; Mark 14:33; Phil 2:26). ἐκθαμβέω occurs once in the LXX (Sir 30:9), but there is no use of ἀδημονέω in the LXX.
|BDAG||to be moved to a relatively intense emotional state because of someth. causing great surprise or perplexity, be very excited||be in anxiety, be distressed,|
|to be greatly astounded,|
with either positive or negative reactions — "to be amazed, to be
astounded, to be alarmed"
|to be distressed and troubled, with the probable implication of anguish — "to be troubled, to be upset, to be distressed"|
|to be amazed||to be sorely troubled|
|UBS||be greatly surprised or alarmed; be greatly distressed||be distressed or troubled|
|LEH||to amaze, to astonish||NA|
As you can see, there does seem to be a bit of overlap between these two words; they carry aspects of synonymous meaning. However, there seems to be more heightened emotion in the first word, ἐκθαμβέω than in ἀδημονέω. If word order prevailed in the HCSB, did the REB and NLT1 switch the order for sake of translation? I only have one copy of an HCSB text with Greek tagging, and that is in WORDsearch (although I've heard it's coming for Accordance). I double-clicked on horrified in the WORDsearch HCSB, and as I anticipated, a window appeared tying the word to the second word, ἀδημονέω.
Regardless, I was still back to my original question about the HCSB's use of horrified, although it was now extended to the REB and NLT1 as well. Usually when there's a significant difference in a translation of a word or phrase in a more recent version of the Bible, there's been an influential commentary or article that's influenced the change. In this case, I don't know what that article or commentary is. I looked in the Word Biblical Commentary on Mark as well as the New International Greek Testament Commentary since both of these are often a bit more technical. Neither had any specific discussion of this issue.
I did find a note, however, in the lesser technical New American Commentary on Mark by James A. Brooks that might have had some bearing since both the NAC commentaries and the HCSB share the same publisher. Brooks writes:
Mark’s description of Jesus is shocking. Mark employed words that express the strongest possible anguish. The NEB does a better job than the NIV, NASB, and RSV in bringing out their meaning: “Horror and dismay came over him.” The REB has, “Horror and anguish overwhelmed him.” Matthew softened the statement, and Luke’s text is most uncertain.
So cheers to the NEB/REB, NLT and HCSB. I'm certain some influential article is out there, but we at least know this rendering goes back at least to the NEB. In the long course of translation history, the NEB continues to emerge as a greater influence in translation than is often thought. And as I've often noted, the NLT1 took more risks than the more conservative NLTse which came after it. And once again, the HCSB will break with traditional renderings for the sake of accuracy.
But there's one more thing...
Why is it that I would question Jesus' reaction of horror to the events that were before him to begin with? Could it be that a horrified Jesus didn't mesh well with the narrow-minded view of Jesus I sometimes have? Do I prefer the "Nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will" over the "Take this cup away from Me" when I think of Jesus?
Am I guilty of picturing Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane like the one in that painting that was on the wall of my Sunday School room as a child? You know the one. The one with the light-haired stoic Jesus. The Jesus in the brightly colored robes looking confident and resolutely skyward as his father in heaven radiated his glory down upon him.
I talked about this with the class I was teaching at church. The Jesus in that painting really looks nothing like the Jesus described in Mark's account. I really can't imagine the Jesus in that painting saying "My soul is swallowed up in sorrow—to the point of death" (Mark 14:35). I don't really see that Jesus saying "Take this cup from me."
In the parallel passage written in Luke's gospel, we're told that "Being in anguish, He prayed fervently, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground" (Luke 22:44).
I knew a manager years ago who was told by the owner of the company to fire a particular individual. The manager didn't feel that she deserved being fired. He knew of some difficulties in her life that would be compounded by the loss of income. He stressed over having to fire her so much that he burst blood vessels in his face. I've never seen anything like that before or since. But I can't help feel that based upon the gospel writers' descriptions, Jesus' stress level was well beyond this—it would have been off the charts.
Jesus looked ahead to the events that were to come—his betrayal by a close friend, his arrest, his beatings, his crucifixion, his taking upon himself the sin of all humanity, his ultimate alienation from God the father, and then his death—and Mark tells us he was horrified.
What other word works here? Distressed? Troubled? I don't think so. Yes, I think horrified is the right word, the only word. Horror unlike anything ever experienced before or since. Horror over our sins would be enough, but the rest, too? I cannot imagine his total pain. If anything horror is not word enough.
But it will have to do.
And yet, I still have a soft spot for a good old fashioned, physical book. I can curl up on the couch with a good book, but not so easily with my laptop. I always joke that you can't read an electronic book in the bathtub--or at least you shouldn't (however, it's probably been over a decade since I read a book in a bathtub anyway). I still like to use a physical Bible when teaching or preaching in front of others. For that matter, I still enjoy the exercise of writing actual notes in the margins of my Bible as part of my preparation--even though I often do the same thing electronically in Accordance (certainly much more than I use to). There's something that I get experientially from physical books that I don't yet get from technology. But keep in mind that having said that, I still own thousands of electronic books--so I'm not being a Luddite here.
Regardless, I believe that while physical books will never completely go away, the electronic book is going to be an increasing presence. Supposedly, Amazon sold more books for its Kindle over the holidays than physical books for the first time ever. If true, I'm not surprised. And the new iPad may be an example of what Apple often does best--taking an already existing technology and moving it into the mainstream.
I was never interested in an electronic e-reader beyond my own MacBook Pro until about 3 or 4 months ago when I held a Kindle in my hand. Before that, I had rejected the Kindle as yet another gadget that probably most of us didn’t need. As already mentioned, I carry thousands of books, mostly biblical reference works, on my laptop, so why would a Kindle be necessary anyway?
But I ran into this guy—a pastor of a church—at a Starbucks, and we struck up a conversation about the Kindle. He had one and told me that it made buying books so easy and was so portable, he’d read well over 50 books last year. That’s much more than I read.
What really got me was the screen on the Kindle. Yes, I have thousands of books on my laptop, but I essentially use them all as reference. I never read one from beginning to end because my laptop screen is too hard on my eyes after extended periods of time. Not so with the Kindle from what I saw in my brief enounter. The Kindle had a screen that was very relaxing to the eyes. I really could see myself actually reading whole books on this thing.
Since the Kindle reads PDF files, I could also see myself converting some of my books on my laptop to PDF format and carrying them with me on a Kindle. In fact, I imagine that would be my main use for a Kindle. I definitely wanted one after I saw one first hand. But I'll come back to that.
There are other ramifications for the electronic texts and readers. Yesterday, the New York Times was given prominent treatment during the iPad announcement. The New York Times has already been experimenting with newspaper subscriptions that only show up on the Kindle. You wake up in the morning, turn on your Kindle and the NY Times is already downloaded on it. They are actually pushing a lot of subscribers to go this route because it removes the cost of delivery and actually is cheaper in the long run (even factoring in the cost of the device) for subscribers. Not to mention saving the wasteful cost of printing something on paper everyday. Electronic delivery could very well save the newspaper industry if they could get enough people to subscribe. And of course a device like Apple's iPad offers the benefit of multimedia that the Kindle doesn't currently offer. Suddenly even we muggles now have moving pictures in our newspapers.
Think also about textbooks. When I was in college, I kept a few of the books that were in my major area of study—I still have some of them—but like most students, I didn’t keep the majority of my books. I sold them back. What if the price of textbooks could be significantly decreased—perhaps even cut in half—by allowing them to be downloaded to a Kindle or an iPad or other similar device? The publishers should like the idea because it eliminates the reselling of textbooks which brings in no money back to them. Students would like it because electronic books should be much cheaper. I could even see a scenario in which a student registers for her classes and by the time she gets back to her dorm room, all of her textbooks for the quarter were already downloaded to her Kindle or iPad. I could imagine a similar situation in high schools, too. There's an incredible amount of potential for electronic texts in education
For me electronic texts on my personal computer have been a boon. I really appreciate not having to carry a stack of books with me to work on a project. I use the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary as a prime example of the benefits of an electronic edition. I've got both the physical set of the AYBD and a copy in Accordance. The physical set is six thick volumes. The electronic set is simply virtual. Further, the physical set does not have an index. You might wonder why an index would be needed with a dictionary, but you'd be surprised. Without an index, I have to search for a subject second guessing the way the editors would have arranged it. Plus, sometimes an subject is covered in more than one article. The physical set makes further treatment difficult to find, but an electronic copy that is searchable makes it much easier. Also, note in the graphic on the right that in the Accordance version of the AYBD, I can search specifically for certain fields. Besides the benefit of searching for the content of the dictionary, I can also zero in specifically on the way the dictionary treats biblical references, or search for all articles written by a certain author and more.
A concern I often hear in regard to electronic texts is whether or not they will be accessible twenty years from now. Think about it--I have a copy of Huckleberry Finn that was printed in the first half of the 20th century. It was given to me by my great aunt. As long as I take care of it, I should still be able to read it when I'm an old man. But how do I know that I will still be able to read an electronic text in 30 years that I've invested in now? That's a legitimate question, but one that the eventual creation of standard formats will answer.
I'm not worried about my investments in my biblical software. This is a field that is essentially all these companies do, and they've been doing it for quite some time. In a worse case scenario, if Company X were to get into financial trouble, I would think it would be worth another company's effort to acquire them and their customer base. Although certain variations of this scenario would be more frightening than others, I'm not worried about my current investment in this area.
For electronic texts seen in devices like the Kindle or iPad, however, it's important that standards can emerge. In an earlier experiment with electronic texts a few years ago, Amazon sold PDF versions of certain books. These texts had digital rights management built in to keep a purchaser from copying it willy nilly for his friends. I bought one of these PDF versions and have it to this day on my laptop. Unfortunately, I cannot open it. It was tied to the computer on which I purchased it. Amazon can't help me because they no longer sell the book. This is the kind of nightmare scenario that one fears if a significant investment is made into electronic texts. My decades old copy of Huck Finn on my shelf simply isn't affected by that kind of problem.
There's the other issue of ownership. Electronic books are virtual, made up of bytes of information on a storage device of some kind. Last year, Amazon made quite a stink when after discovering they'd sold electronic copies of George Orwell's 1984 for which they didn't have permission, they simply yanked them from Kindle owners who had bought the book via the Kindle's wireless connection. Not surprisingly, a store credit was not satisfactory to their customers. You know, if I buy an accidentally unauthorized printing of 1984, the manager of Barnes & Noble can't come into my home and take it off my bookshelf. Due to the outcry, Amazon has promised not to do this again, but the very idea that they could, is still a bit unnerving.
Yesterday, as you know unless you were hiding in a cave, Steve Jobs formally introduced the iPad. The worst kept secret in the computer industry, this "portable media device" promises to be something more than an iPhone/iPod Touch, but less than a full laptop computer. It's been called a "Kindle killer," but I hope this isn't so. I hope there's still room for both devices, but I also hope that the price of the Kindle comes down a bit in case I decide to eventually get one.
If you read the tech press at all, there's a surprising number of people disappointed with the new iPad. Paul Thurrott, for instance, has already written two posts about his disappointment with the iPad (see here and here). In his first post, he writes, "The thing I don't get here is... So far, nothing new. This has all been done before elsewhere. I'm astonished this isn't nicer looking or more interesting." But as much as I respect Paul, I think he misses the point. Yes, the iPad is less powerful than even a netbook, but for many people the iPad will be all the computer they need.
I know of no certain figures, but I would guess that there are a large percentage of computer users who do little more than read email, surf the web, and occasionally use a word processor. They don't need everything a full-fledged computer offers (whether laptop, desktop or even netbook). And while netbooks are nice (I even have an Acer Aspire One D250), they have many compromises that make them difficult to use as a main computer. But for the folks who don't need a full computer, the iPad may be ideal.
For education especially, the iPad will be beneficial. Not only do I imagine a scenario as I described above where one device could hold all of a student's textbooks, but with word processing capabilities as demonstrated yesterday with iWork Pages, it becomes a complete device for many users. And if you don't like iWork, don't worry. There will be plenty of other word processors available within a couple of years. If the iPad is successful--and I think it will be--I wouldn't even be surprised to see Microsoft release a version of Office for it. And I wonder what Google Docs would be like on the iPad right now?
The iPad will also be a very good option for people who need a smaller, less-capable, secondary computer. That's why I bought my Acer netbook to begin with. There are times when I don't need to take a full computer with me. Church is a good example. I teach on Sunday mornings from Keynote, but I wanted something less than my 15" MacBook Pro to carry with me. I had dreams of buying a netbook and making it into a Hackintosh and running Keynote from it. But that hasn't worked as well as I wanted and I'm back to using my MacBook Pro. So, of course, I'm very intrigued by the fact that the iPad has its own version of Keynote. I could also picture myself sitting in a church service taking notes on an iPad, something that I simply feel too conspicuous doing on a regular laptop.
There are also many times when I wished that my iPhone had a keyboard of its own. On an occasional weekend getaway, I don't necessarily want to take a whole computer, but I would like to keep up with email. The iPad would be perfect for this kind of use.
However, I want to see how Keynote really works on an iPad before I'd ever commit to one. When I teach with Keynote, I make extensive use of my notes in Keynote which show up on the presenter's screen but not on the projector. I have my doubts that the iPad will make use of extended desktops--at least in its initial version.
[Side note: Having read rumors that the iPad would have it's own version of the iWork suite, I was secretly hoping that Apple would release a Windows version of iWork. You might laugh, but that's not without precident since Apple's previous office suite, Claris/AppleWorks had a Windows version. This would have solved a main problem with the use of the Netbook. Currently I have Windows 7 installed on it for lack of a better solution, and a Windows version of Keynote would allow me to use it on Sunday mornings again.]
Thus, I really do think that in spite of the naysayers, the iPad is a significant offering. Yes, there have been tablet computers and e-readers and all the rest. But they've never been mainstream. The iPad may be the just right mix of everything that many people will realize that they don't need something more powerful. But time will tell.
I also hope that the iPad is not a "Kindle killer." I hope that there is room for both devices. Many people may just need a Kindle for reading without all the features of the iPad. Regardless, I think Amazon will be fine either way. They already have a Kindle reader for the iPhone which will presumably run just fine on the iPad. Even if they were to eventually quit manufacturing the Kindle device, Amazon could still sell books for their reader that would work on the iPad.
If Apple is successful with the iPad, I may want one eventually, but not the first generation. I had the first generation iPhone, but this time I think I'll sit back and let some of the rest of you work out the first generation bugs. The second generation iPhone was much better than the initial iPhone, and I imagine it will be the same for the iPad.
In the meantime, I'd still like to convert a number of my electronic texts to PDFs and read them on a Kindle. I have a hunch that four hours of straight reading on a Kindle is easier on the eyes than what it would be on an iPad. So, I'll be watching to see if the prices come down. Or if you want to yours, maybe you can make me an offer I can't refuse.
- I hope that the introduction of Apple's tablet leads to a reduction in Amazon's price for the Kindle. I really just want a Kindle and can't imagine that I will want Apple's tablet (but we'll see).
- I hope we'll see a significant update to the iWork suite. Am I the only excited about this possibility?
I’m very pleased to announce that the current (Feb. 2010) issue of Louisiana Cookin’ contains an article I wrote, “Smothered Cooking in Cast Iron.” The article discusses the history and method of smothered cooking, and I also included five recipes written by myself, family, and friends.
- Pointe Coupee Smothered Potatoes
- Uncle Larry’s Smothered Deer Steak
- Smothered Chicken and Andouille Sausage
- Hamburger Steak
- Queenie’s Smothered Steak
The “Uncle Larry” in the second recipe is my actual uncle, and the “Queenie” in the last recipe is my grandmother whose recipe I adapted for the article. My “original” contribution is the Smothered Chicken and Andouille Sausage recipe.
The article begins on p. 28 and concludes on p. 33. As you can see below, there are a number of very professional photographs of my recipes that accompany the article:
The February issue of Louisiana Cookin’ is now on sale at most major national book chains.
I would say Leno is my least favorite, but that doesn't mean I don't like him. His humor is just a bit white-bread in my mind. I did not like Conan O'Brien at all when he took Letterman's place back in '93. But he grew on me. His humor is weird while Letterman's humor is odd. Yes, there is a difference, and I simply like Letterman best.
I've watched Letterman since his daytime show which only ran for one year, I think around 1980. I was a kid, and he was on television about the time I crawled out of bed during summer vacation. I watched him while eating cereal. As a teenager, I stayed up late to watch him many nights with the television turned way down so as not to get into trouble for being up so late.
Most agree that Letterman got a raw deal in 1993. Carson had chosen him to take over the Tonight Show, but the folks who owned NBC, General Electric, didn't want him because he'd made fun of their company one too many times. So Leno was in the right place at the right time, and wound up with a deal of a lifetime. With Letterman moving to CBS, Fox tried its hand with a late night show hosted by Chevy Chase. I watched a few of those, including the first and the last episode, and it was simply a disaster. Chase was so nervous the first night, he was sweating on camera. Far different from the characters he played in movies like Caddyshack and Fletch.
What's been really different this time around is that all of those involved are talking about it on camera. In 1992, there was a lot of shuffling going on behind the scenes, but we were privy to very little of it until the movie, The Late Shift came out a few years later. This time around, they're all talking about it quite publicly. They all have contracts and the networks—especially NBC in regard to Leno and Conan—don't have the nerve to try to censor any talk in an already tense and embarrassing situation. Our society is now more public about things anyway. Celebrities air and have aired their troubles on television everyday anyway, so why should this be any different?
It's been interesting to watch all three of the major players this week, Leno, Letterman and O'Brien, make jokes about the situation. Letterman who felt he got a raw deal from NBC a decade and a half ago seemed downright giddy the past few days. Of course, this time it's Conan who has received the short end of the stick. While it's not final at this writing, it looks like he'll get a settlement and then start his own show—probably on Fox—sometime later this year. Of course, the latest number I heard on his settlement puts it at around $46 million, so that kind of short stick is not too much to cry about.
This is just my opinion, and you can feel free to disagree in the comments. But really, I think that if anyone were to do the "right" thing, Jay Leno should simply walk away from all this. He already got lucky in '93 receiving a show he didn't deserve. Now's he's essentially taking his old time slot back from Conan who's had very little say unless he wants to move his show back half an hour. Yes, I know it would still be called the Tonight Show, but by moving it to 12:05, it becomes the show really in name only. So, Leno's first time was by luck, but the second time is more like force. If anything Leno's pushing his luck. I think this looks bad on him, and it will be interesting to see whether he can get his audience back.
As for me when the dust settles, I'll mainly be watching Letterman as always.
Watch the video below for a demonstration.
A higher resolution version can be found at my personal gallery (click on LARGE).
See also: "Accordance 8.4.1 Adds Google Maps Integration" (Accordance Blog)
For more features of the Accordance Atlas, check out the Training Videos: "Using the Accordance Atlas" and "Customizing the Accordance Atlas."
Will there be more notes at the bottom of the page? Compared to other study Bibles the NOAB seems sparse.
Of course, one person’s “sparse” is another’s “concise.” If you actually compared the amount of information available in, say, the NOAB with that in the [other academic study Bibles], I think you’d find that the Annotated had at least as much, perhaps more. We have made a deliberate decision to provide a variety of means of presentation for information that a student or general reader needs: not only book introductions and annotations (a format, I might note, that Oxford University Press pioneered), but also section introductions, giving an overview to various biblical divisions and genres; general essays, providing background that is applicable to the text as a whole, or large parts of it; and ancillaries, like maps and a glossary, that can provide quick references for specific matters. The choice to put virtually all the explanatory matter in annotations means either that you must repeat information every time it is relevant (since you can’t expect, for example, the reader to remember an explanation from one of the historical narratives when he or she is reading one of the prophetic books) or you must omit an explanation entirely, since there is no other place to put it. We think our method of presentation is the best option available, but other publishers have chosen differently. That gives readers a range of choices, which we think is all to the good. We have, however, increased the annotations in many of the biblical books – see my answer to your next question.
Will the large print of the third edition be retained?
The biblical text is, I believe, in the same type size. The annotations are in a different, easier-to-read face that is more condensed, though I don’t think it is smaller. We have changed the design of the standard page for two reasons: the new type choices will more strongly differentiate the annotations from the biblical text, and they permit a slightly higher word count per page. This has allowed us to increase the study materials by about 10% without increasing the page count of the book.
Will there be a bigger concordance?
No. The concordance remains the same length. We and the other publishers of the NRSV have agreed among ourselves that the current concordance will be the standard one for use in the back of the Bible.
Will there be more cross references in the notes?
We have included extensive cross references throughout. I don’t have a direct comparison with the third edition, so I can’t tell if there are more, but there are many cross references. Intertextuality is fully represented.
Will the excellent paper of the third edition be retained?
The paper for the fourth edition is of a similar or slightly better quality than that generally used in the third edition. We are caught, like all Bible publishers, between trying for a thin sheet and an opaque page. You can’t have both when you are publishing a 2400-page book that can still be held comfortably by the reader. I think the paper in the new edition compares favorably to what we had before. To some extent this is a matter of taste – some people prefer a white sheet, some an off-white one. Ours is slightly off-white, which reduces glare. The opacity is good, though there is inevitably some show-through.
Look for the 4th edition of the New Oxford Annotated Bible in February, 2010. Feel free to leave any further questions in the comments. I'll invite Don Kraus to answer them as he has opportunity.