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Entries in Accordance (40)

Thursday
Dec082016

Accordance 12 Featured on Theotek Podcast #86

This past Tuesday night, Mark Allison, my co-worker at OakTree Software/Accordance joined Kevin Purcell, Wes Allen and me to show off the new features of Accordance 12. Mark was the perfect choice to show off the new features since he has been teaching our "What's New in Accordance 12?" webinar

Here's the YouTube posting of Theotek podcast #86. 

Also, check the Theotek website for full show notes for episode #86. 

Saturday
Jul042015

Theotek Podcast #30: Herodian Drone

In yesterday's Theotek podcast, I demonstrated the new Virtual Bible being released Monday in Accordance Bible Software.

If you want to join us live each Friday at 9 AM EST, or if you want to know where you can subscribe and download episodes, head on over to the Theotek website for more information. 

Feel free to add questions, thoughts comments, or rebuttals here in my comments section or in the comments for today's episode on YouTube.

 

Sunday
Jun072015

This Week in Accordance Bible (2015.06.07)

I'm posting this a day later than normal (it's already been a very busy weekend), but here's my unofficial, off-the-clock rundown of everything related to Accordance Bible Software this past week as well as the week to come. 

Released: G. K Beale's A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New

If you're not familiar with Beale's works related to intertextuality you should be. This is a fantastic and different approach to New Testament theology that is definitely worth your time. See my blog post about the title here

Introductory pricing applies but less than 40 hours remain from when I'm writing this. Sale prices end on Monday at midnight.


      

Pulpit Resource Sale

In addition to Beale, mentioned above, we have a few other items on sale, specifically designed to help with sermon preparation:

 Plus, Accordance PhotoGuide 4 with Egyptian updates remains on sale, too. 
Sale prices on all the above ends on Monday, midnight EDT, so act quickly.

      

Looking for a Few Good Ministers

If you use Accordance in sermon preparation, we want to hear your story, and you might get featured in our weekly newsletter and other forms of social media. Get more information here.


      

Release of Accordance Mobile 2.1

Lots of new features, updates and bug fixes, but the biggest deal is improved user notes. Get all the details here.


      

LOTS of How-to Videos This Week!

Some of these haven't even been promoted yet because they were only uploaded yesterday. If you subscribe to our Vimeo or YouTube feeds, you may have seen them.

Webinar: Preparing Topical Sermons from Accordance Bible Software on Vimeo.

 

Accordance Mobile User Notes (Lighting the Lamp Video Podcast #124) from Accordance Bible Software on Vimeo.

 

Creating Ad Hoc Outlines in Accordance Mobile from Accordance Bible Software on Vimeo.

 


      

Upcoming: Presbyterian Church of American 43rd General Assembly

This week, I will be representing Accordance at the PCA conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee. If you're there, come by booth #528 from June 9-11 and say hello!


      

Upcoming Training Seminars

As you might guess, based on the above, I will be leading the free, all-day Accordance Training Seminar on Friday, June 12 in Chattanooga. If you are in the area, please sign up and come join us!

  • Chattanooga, TN (June 12)
  • Sydney, Australia (June 13)
  • Buenos Aires (July 23)
  • Atlanta, GA (Nov 20--between ETS & SBL meetings)

Go to our Training Seminars page to get more information and sign up for these seminars and others.


      
Upcoming Free Webinars for the Coming Week

We have a LOTS of free webinars on schedule for the coming week. The webinars use GoToMeeting and allow participants to directly interact with the instructor. 

  • Beginner's Basics, Part 2 (Mon June 8, 4-5 PM, EDT)
  • Advanced Greek (Tues June 9, 1-2 PM, EDT)
  • Intermediate Searching in Accordance (Tues June 9, 6-7 PM, EDT)
  • Setting Up Workspaces with Abram K-J (Weds, June 10, 12-1 PM, EDT)
  • Pulpit Resources and Library Content (Thurs, June 11, 1-2 PM, EDT)
  • Using the Timeline (Thurs, June 11, 1-2 PM, EDT)

Sign up for these or other sessions at our Webinars page. Also check out recordings of past webinars on our Webinar Archives page

 

If you have questions about anything above, feel free to let me know in the comments.

Saturday
May302015

This Week in Accordance Bible (2015.05.30)

Here's my unofficial, off-the-clock rundown of everything related to Accordance Bible Software from this past week. Here's what you may have missed if you were on vacation.
   
Sale on Hermeneia—A Critical & Historical Commentary on the Bible
Hermeneia is probably one of the most technical commentaries out there, and it's a bit to the left theologically from my perspective. Nevertheless, I find it to be an incredibly valuable resource at time because I have never felt I had to agree 100% with material to get benefit from it. Most amazingly we currently have Hermeneia for Accordance at only $499 for all 49 volumes. This is the lowest price we've ever offered the set. Consider that if you were to purchase these same volumes in print, you'd spend well over $3,000, and we normally run it for $829. 
    
As of this writing, there's only about two days left to get this deal because the sale ends at midnight Monday, June 1. 

 

Sale on Titles Related to the Church Fathers/Early Church
A number of titles related to perspectives from figures in the Early Church are also on sale, including the following:
Like the Hermeneia Commentaries, these titles will only be on sale for a couple more days--through midnight, Monday, June 1.


Video: How to Set a Default Lexicon in Accordance Mobile



Egyptian Updates for the Accordance Bible Lands PhotoGuide 4
Although the update (free upgrade for those who had already purchased PhotoGuide 4) was released a few days ago, we only really began promoting it on Friday. According to the blog post, the update provides a considerable amount of new content:
  
This new update adds over 350 new pictures and numerous articles on Egypt, the ancient land of wonder and one of the most important lands of the Bible. Some of these articles include the following entries: Alexandria, On, Memphis, the Pyramids of Giza and Saqqara, Thebes, Luxor, Karnak, Hatshepsut’s Temple, the Valley of the Kings, and Syene (Aswan).
  
If you're not familiar with the Accordance Bible Lands PhotoGuide 4, you should really check it out. It's a tremendously unique photo guide to the land of the Bible with photos you won't find anywhere else as most of them were taken by people who work for Accordance. It's on sale for over 20% off beginning yesterday and going through June 8.


Upcoming Training Seminars

There are a number of upcoming free training seminars, and we've got all four hemispheres covered! Note that as of this week, the date for the Buenos Aires training seminar is now set specifically for July 23.

  • Chattanooga, TN (June 12)
  • Sydney, Australia (June 13)
  • Buenos Aires (July 23)
  • Atlanta, GA (Nov 20--between ETS & SBL meetings)

Go to our Training Seminars page to get more information and sign up for these seminars and others.


      
Upcoming Free Webinars for the Coming Week

We have a number of free webinars on schedule for the coming week. The webinars use GoToMeeting and allow participants to directly interact with the instructor. 

  • Accordance on Mobile Devices (Tues June 2, 1-2 PM, EDT)
  • Searching in Accordance (Tues June 2, 6-7 PM, EDT)
  • Beginner Basics - Part 1 (Wed June 3, 1-2 PM, EDT)
  • Topical Studies (Thurs, June 4, 1-2 PM, EDT)

Sign up for these or other sessions at our Webinars page. Also check out recordings of past webinars on our Webinar Archives page

 

If you have questions about anything above, feel free to let me know in the comments.

Saturday
May232015

This Week in Accordance (2015.05.23)

Another busy week in the world of Bible software, and here's my "unofficial/off-the-clock" rundown of what's new with Accordance. 
   
Commentators' Bible (Michael Carasik, ed.)

Released this past Monday for the Accordance Library, The Commentators' Bible is in the rabbinic tradition of Miqra'ot Gedolot/מקראות גדולות, AKA "Great Scriptures," or "Rabbinic Bible." This involves surrounding the biblical text with comments from various medieval rabbinic sources. Each section starts with questions raised about the passage, followed by answers from the likes of Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Nahmanides, Rashbam, and other medieval commentators. 
As of this writing, there are about two and a half days left to get introductory pricing on volumes for Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and an even greater cut for all four together. The obvious question is "What about Genesis?" Carasik is still working on that one, and it's slated for around 2018.

   
The Bible's Many Voices (Michael Carasik)

Also from Carasik this week is his book The Bible's Many Voices, which is a literary analysis of sorts focusing on the diversity of the human element involved in the origins of the Bible. Carasik writes from a Jewish perspective, but there is a good bit of interaction with the Christian New Testament as well. 
             
Here is part of the publisher's description:
     
The most common English translations of the Bible often sound like a single, somewhat archaic voice. In fact, the Bible is made up of many separate books composed by multiple writers in a wide range of styles and perspectives. It is, as Michael Carasik demonstrates, not a remote text reserved for churches and synagogues but rather a human document full of history, poetry, politics, theology, and spirituality.



"Jewish Perspective" Sale
We placed a number of titles on sale that look at the Bible from a Jewish perspective. 

Again, as with the other titles from Carasik, there are about two and a half days left for this sale before these titles go back up to regular pricing.



Two Endorsement Videos Released

Brandon Crowe, Associate Professor of New Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia:

Anthony Abell, Provost of Clearwater Christian College:


 

Lighting the Lamp Video Podcast #123: Change Focus and Tie/Untie Panes

This six-minute video shows off two new features of Accordance 11.0.6 for Macintosh and Windows.

 



Upcoming Training Seminars

 

There are a number of upcoming free training seminars, and we've got all four hemispheres covered! 

  • Chattanooga, TN (June 12)
  • Sydney, Australia (June 13)
  • Buenos Aires (July 20-24)
  • Atlanta, GA (Nov 20--between ETS & SBL meetings)

Go to our Training Seminars page to get more information and sign up for these seminars and others.


 

Upcoming Free Webinars for the Coming Week

We have a number of free webinars on schedule for the coming week. The webinars use GoToMeeting and allow participants to directly interact with the instructor. 

  • Learning Greek (Tues May 26, 1-2 PM, EDT)
  • User Tools & Notes (Tues May 26, 6-7 PM, EDT)
  • Beginners Basics, Part 5: Linking (Wed May 27, 1-2 PM EDT)

Sign up for these or other sessions at our Webinars page. Also check out recordings of past webinars on our Webinar Archives page

 

If you have questions about anything above, feel free to let me know in the comments.

Saturday
May162015

This Week in Accordance (2015.05.16)

Here's a rundown of all things Accordance from the previous week!

 

Everyone needs good dictionaries, right? The link above will take you to the blog post and descriptions of each item on sale. These prices are good through Monday, May 18, Midnight EDT.

Here's a quick list of what's included:


Video: Creating a Combined Resource in Accordance

 

Learn how to create a combined resource to scroll in parallel with a biblical text. We recommend watching this video fullscreen.


Upcoming Training Seminars

 

There are two upcoming free training seminars, and we've got both northern and southern hemispheres covered! 

  • Chattanooga, TN (June 12)
  • Sydney, Australia (June 13)

Go to our Training Seminars page to get more information and sign up for these seminars and others.


Upcoming Free Webinars for the Coming Week

We have LOTS of free webinars on schedule for the coming week. The webinars use GoToMeeting and allow participants to directly interact with the instructor. 

  • Beginner Basics - Part 2 (Mon May 18, 4-5 PM, EDT)
  • Preparing Expository Sermons with Accordance (Tues May 19, 1-2 PM, EDT)
  • Creating an Accordance Slideshow (Tues May 19, 6-7 PM EDT)
  • Beginner Basics - Part 3 (Wed May 20, 2015, 1-2 PM EDT)
  • Sermon Preparation in Action (Thurs May 21, 12-1:15 PM EDT)
  • Using the Research Tool (Thurs May 21, 4-5 PM EDT)
  • Beginning Basics - Part 4 (Fri May 22, 1-2 PM)

Sign up for these or other sessions at our Webinars page. Also check out recordings of past webinars on our Webinar Archives page

 

If you have questions about anything above, feel free to let me know in the comments.

Saturday
May092015

This Week in Accordance (2015.05.09)

Here is my unofficial, off-the-clock rundown of everything new relating to Accordance from this past week. 

New Titles for the Accordance Library from InterVarsity Press

These titles were released and went on sale on Tuesday with introductory pricing. It's Saturday afternoon when I'm writing this, so if you want the discounts, you've got less than three days left. I read through a few articles in the Global Dictionary, and it looks really good. I enjoy reading other perspectives, regardless of whether or not I agree with them. I've been wanting to read Walton's book for a while, as well as his follow-up covering Gen 2-3, so I hope to curl up with my iPad and jump into the Lost World soon.


NIVAC Sale Ends at Midnight

This sale on the NIV Application Commentary series was in partnership with the publisher, Zondervan. It ran for two weeks on a schedule different than our normal sales. If you're reading this after the date of this post, and the link above doesn't work, forget it you missed it. And that's a shame because the sale brought the prices down to $7.99 per volume. 


Five New Videos

We released five new videos this week, some of which we haven't even had a chance yet to publicize. Nevertheless, since they are all public, I'll embed them here. 

First up, a short tutorial, Syncing Accordance Mobile with Dropbox. This is part of our Mobile Minute series that goes with our weekly newsletter (sign up here). 

Second, Dr. J (Tim Jenney) released episode #122 of the Lighting the Lamp podcast, in which he demonstrates How to Study a Topic in Accordance. 

The third and fourth videos are part of a 2013 Accordance Training Seminar held in Baltimore in November, 2013 (ETS/SBL week). Although they feature demonstrations of Accordance 10, everything here applies to Accordance 11 since the latter added features to what was already there. There will be more installments added to a new page at the Accordance website as we edit them. 

This first segment, led by Tim Jenney, gives a basic overview of Accordance.

The second segment, led by David Lang, offers a basic introduction to search commands and search symbols. 

Finally, the fifth video, just released today is another Accordance Mobile Minute segment. This one, primarily geared toward new users of our mobile app, shows off features of the Verse Chooser. 


Australian Training Seminars

We now have two free training seminars scheduled for Australia: 

  • Brisbane (May 16)
  • Sydney (June 13)

Go to our Training Seminars page to get more information and sign up for these seminars and others.


Upcoming Free Webinars for the Coming Week

We have two webinars on schedule for this week. The webinars use GoToMeeting and allow participants to directly interact with the instructor. 

  • Intermediate Searching in Accordance (Tues May 12, 6-7 PM, EDT)
  • Using the Atlas (Thurs May 14, 1-2 PM, EDT)

Sign up for these or other sessions at our Webinars page. Also check out recordings of past webinars on our Webinar Archives page.

 

Whew--it's been a busy week! If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Saturday
May022015

This Week in Accordance (2015.05.02)

A personal note: If you were around to remember the Remington shaver ads in the '80s, you might remember Victor Kiam stating, "I liked the shaver so much, I bought the company!" Well, I haven't bought anything, but believing in the power and potential of Accordance Bible Software so greatly, I began regular work for the company. I say "regular" work because I now have a title (Technology Evangelist--this is homage to Guy Kawasaki's title at Apple in the '90s and one I requested based on what I'm doing for Accordance) and daily responsibilities. 

If you look at some of the big players in Bible Software--Accordance, Logos, WordSearch, BibleWorks, OliveTree--I used all but OliveTree before I ever started using Accordance in 1998. All of them are still on my various devices. But it was Accordance that changed everything for me. For me, and for reasons I won't rabbit trail here, Accordance became the Bible software I went to 99% of the time because I could do with it what I couldn't do with the other platforms. Accordance is one of those programs that simply stays open on my computer because I use it over and over throughout the day. Over time, I got to know some of the personalities behind the computer screen, and beginning around 2008, they started using me for an occasional training seminar or conference. Then, as of last year--June, 2014, to be specific--I'm finally with them as a day-in, day-out regular employee. 

So, now, as I try to bring This Lamp back from the throes of death due to neglect, I want to continue including content about Accordance even though I work for the company. But I want to point out an important difference here. If I say something about Accordance on the Accordance FaceBook page, it's an "official" statement. If I say it here, it's unofficial. If I say something through the Accordance Twitter account, I'm speaking for the company. Here, I'm not. What I write here is not part of my job; I'm not counting hours or getting paid for anything I include on This Lamp. This just goes back to my sentiment that echoes Victor Kiam. I really am all-in with this.

Having said that, one thing I thought I might do is to create a quick rundown each week of all that's new with Accordance, usually posting on the weekend. Today's post will be the first of these. 

So what's new with Accordance this week?

NIVAC Sale. As of this writing, you've still got seven days to take advantage of this. Zondervan partnered with Accordance (and a few other not-to-be-named-here platforms) to offer the NIV Application Commentary at 70% off through May 9. This is a really good deal. We've never offered these prices this low before, and the commentary is a good mid-range set that, while emphasizing contemporary relevance, also takes original context seriously. 

Three new releases from Tremper Longman. If you've read anything from Longman, you're aware that he's a topnotch scholar who knows how to communicate in a style that's very understandable to those who are not necessarily scholars. This week, we released three of his four "How to Read" books: How to Read Genesis, How to Read Exodus, and How to Read Proverbs. Introductory pricing is still available for about two more days as of this writing, so don't delay picking these up.

Accordance 11.05 was released for Windows & OS X. The update can be accessed by going to Application Update inside Accordance. The official general statement is "Improved export capabilities, updated colors, report topic corrections, and many improvements and fixes across the board," but you may be interested in the specifics as it pertains to the individual Mac and Windows platforms.

Check out the Sermon Prep webinar (recorded). We've heard numerous times the competition privately telling potential customers, "Well, Accordance is okay for original languages, but not so much for ministry tasks like preparing sermons." Baloney. Tell that to the thousands of pastors who use Accordance every week for preparing their sermons! Anyway, this webinar taught by Pastor Abram Kielsmeier-Jones is a great introduction for using Accordance to prepare sermons. For that matter, any Accordance user who has any kind of regular teaching responsibilities will find this session to be extremely practical. 

And while you're thinking about webinars, take a look at the upcoming Accordance webinar schedule. Our webinars are becoming a chief way to hone one's skills in using the Bible software. 

 

Questions? Thoughts? Comments? Rebuttals? Put them in the comments.

Friday
May012015

Review: Toshiba Encore 2 Write (Updated)

Note: I originally wrote this review on January 30, 2015 for SurfaceGeeks.net. I am taking the original review as a base and updating it a bit now that I've had the device for a few months. The original version can be read at http://surfacegeeks.net/toshiba-encore-2-write-review.html

The Problem with Windows Tablets

I’ve long felt that Windows tablets need a stylus. Touch-centric Windows Store apps are simply not robust enough to use exclusively as a platform by themselves. If they had been Windows RT would still be around. The reality is we still need to rely on some desktop apps; but unfortunately, these don’t work as well with touch alone. This issue is heightened on smaller tablets where the desktop touchpoints can be even more difficult to accurately access. Plus, many websites and Windows desktop applications use mouseover functions that simply don't work in a purely touch environment (which is also why so many websites have dedicated apps on mobile platforms).

 

It seems, however, that very few Windows tablets emphasize or even support some kind of digital or active stylus. For instance, the Dell Venue 8 Pro (which I used to own) is a very capable tablet, but the stylus seems like an afterthought. Sold separately, it took three versions for Dell to get the stylus right. And even then—in my experience—the stylus seems awkward to use with the tablet.

Many of us were hopeful that the much-rumored Microsoft Surface Mini would be the mini tablet we were hoping for. But for whatever reason (and I have my theories), Microsoft pulled it at the last minute, leaving the Surface Mini to remain the stuff of fables and legends.

In recent months, new Windows tablets of 8" or smaller seem to appear every few weeks. I could not pass up the HP Stream 7 for only $99 when I saw one in person at the local Microsoft Store popup this past December. The Stream 7 is an amazing device, but it’s difficult to use, confirming my conviction even more that a Windows tablet needs a stylus.

Enter the Encore 2 Write

When the Toshiba Encore 2 Write was announced at CES, I immediately thought that perhaps this would be the tablet I had been hoping for. There are a number of things the Encore 2 Write has going for it, but two immediate qualities stood out to me. First, this tablet comes standard with 64 GB of drive space. I’m sorry, but 32 GB on a Windows device of any kind is not enough because the operating system simply takes up too much space from the beginning. A microSD slot helps, but apps run fastest on the primary internal drive.

Second, the Encore 2 Write includes an active stylus that does not seem to be an afterthought. The stylus does not need to be ordered separately; it comes with the tablet. The stylus and the digitizer built into the screen are the first to use Wacom’s new “Active ES” pen technology (see Reuters story here.) The addition of three new apps from Toshiba for note taking indicates that this is a primary purpose for which this tablet was designed.

The Encore 2 Write actually comes in two models: the 8" version ($349), which I purchased, and a 10" model ($399) as well. Besides the screen size, there are two interesting differences between the two models. Otherwise, everything else I describe here essentially applies to both.

While both Include a 1.2MP font-facing camera, the smaller 8" tablet has a rear 8MP camera; while the larger 10" tablet only has a 5MP camera. Why the larger tablet would have the lesser camera, I have no idea. Toshiba includes an app called TruCapture, which according to their promotional copy, is designed “to capture notes from textbooks, blackboards, whiteboards and chalkboards and automatically straighten and sharpen the text for greater readability.” And, of course, I often use tablets to take quick scans of documents, so the higher the megapixel the better.

The other difference between the two tablets has to do with the larger tablet including a microHDMI port for presentations. It’s a shame that this extra output feature is missing from the smaller tablet, and you really have to pay close attention to the promo copy to realize it’s not there. Nevertheless, users of the 10" Encore 2 Write will have an easier time connecting the tablet to an HDMI-equipped projector or TV. Fortunately, for those with the smaller tablet, I have confirmed in my own use that USB to VGA adapters do work for presentations or using an external monitor.

On a related note to the above, Toshiba sells a Connect and Charge Micro-USB Cable as an accessory to both tablets, which means that it is possible to use the micro USB port for peripherals and to charge the device at the same time. Although I’ve not seen anyone test it yet, I assume that the Encore 2 Write will work with one of the Pluggable docking stations to make this device convert to a full desktop solution if someone were so inclined.

Software Included for Notes & Meetings

My Encore 2 Write is the Signature Edition from the online Microsoft Store, so it came free from some of the usually-unnecessary software that you might find if purchasing directly from Toshiba. However, three apps specific to this device remain: TruNote, TruCapture (mentioned earlier), and TruRecorder.

TruNote is what you would expect—it’s a note taking app and a good one at that. It’s very customizable and handles note taking quite well. Although it does not OCR handwritten notes, you can search for your handwritten text because it will search for similar shapes if you write a word into the search field. I’m not certain how much I would use TruNote, however, because I’m already invested in other note-taking apps such as Evernote, and to a lesser extent, OneNote. Although Evernote does not read handwritten text, the Microsoft pen input keyboard available to use with any app does, and does so quite well. In fact, I wrote a large portion of this review strictly using Evernote and the Encore 2 Write stylus. The other advantage Evernote and OneNote have is their ubiquity. I can create a note on one device and open it on any other device. Nevertheless, notes can be exported out of TruNote, so it’s possible that if I found it more capable for basic stylus input note taking, I could use it and then import my notes into another app such as Evernote.

Taking a note (pun intended) from the Surface Pro 3, the Encore 2 Write will also let you write on the screen without completely logging in first. Holding down the lower button on the stylus while touching the lockscreen will immediately launch a virtual blank sheet of paper for taking down a quick note. Once you log onto the tablet, your note will be waiting for you in TruNote.

I haven’t had a chance to fully test TruRecorder yet, but it seems like an intriguing app. The Encore 2 Write comes with two microphones, which allows TruRecorder to better distinguish among individual voices. So, if the software works as advertised, you can record a meeting and TruRecorder will break down individual voices into their own tracks that can be listened to individually at a later time. I haven’t had a chance to really test this out yet, but I often have opportunity to record  meetings, so I will try it soon.

The Hardware

In addition to the hardware specs already mentioned, both versions of the Encore 2 Write come with an Intel Atom Z3735F Processor and 2 GB of RAM. They both run Windows 8.1 with Bing. Although I’d prefer more RAM, I haven’t had any real issues yet. Of course, I won’t be editing video or running CAD software on this device either. Plus, if I had to choose between RAM and drive space, I’m actually much more appreciative of the standard 64 GB of the latter.

The Wacom technology built into the screen and the accompanying TruPen work together quite well. Supposedly, together, there are 2048 degrees of sensitivity. This will result in darker lines when pushing the pen harder against the screen, but I’m not artist enough to really test this feature out. All I can say is that the pen feels quite natural—again, much better than the stylus with my Dell Venue 8 Pro. In fact, having owned three previous Windows machines with stylus input—the original Surface Pro, the Dell Venue 8 Pro, and the Acer R7-572—I believe that I can fairly say that the Encore 2 Write has the most natural writing experience of any of the devices I’ve used.

The original Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 came with Wacom technology before switching to N-trig for the Surface Pro 3. Unlike the plastic pens that came with the first two iterations of the Surface Pro, the Encore 2 Write “TruPen” is made of metal (presumably aluminum) and uses a AAAA battery. There is a cap for the pen, and the user manual says the battery will last longer if the cap is kept on the pen when not in use. This must be the modern equivalent of the ink drying out if you leave the cap off a marker. I’m actually more concerned about losing that cap (although it attaches to the top of the stylus) or worse, bending it by grabbing it too hard to pull it off the pen.

Toshiba promises 11+ hours of battery life. I haven’t formally tested this, but I can say the battery is lasting all day with moderate to heavy use. That’s good news since I don’t care to carry cords if I don’t have to. And it’s much better than the HP Stream 7 I recently bought that has the worst battery life I’ve seen since the old NiCad days.

The Nitpicks

I have two minor quibbles with the Encore 2 Write beyond wishing the microHDMI port had been added to the 8" model.

First, I have a hunch that Toshiba may have rushed the Encore 2 Write out the door so that it could be released during CES a couple of weeks ago. I say that because there are no specific accessories made to go with this tablet. I have searched everywhere for a folio case/cover that would work with the Encore 2 Write, but they don’t (yet) exist. Toshiba will sell you a cover for the regular Encore 2, but all of the Encore 2 cases cover the pen clip slot on the bottom right side of the screen. The second microphone also gets covered up by the existing cases available.

To get around this, I ordered a third party cover for the regular Encore 2, and I cut off the right edge that would block the ability to dock the pen. The second microphone is still covered, but I can live with this for right now.

I should also note that as of this writing, it’s impossible to order a replacement stylus [update: they're now available here]. I have always bought an extra stylus or two to keep handy for when my original pen inevitably gets lost. Right now, if that were to happen, I’d simply be out of luck unless Wacom is selling their own stylus with the new “Active ES” technology.

My second quibble is extremely minor. To keep from losing the pen, which I’ve already stated I fear doing, the Encore 2 Write comes with a handy strap that’s supposed to secure the pen to the tablet. On the right side of the tablet, the same side where the TruPen can be docked, there’s a strap hook. Okay, I can understand how to attach the strap to the hook—easy enough—but I see no way to attach it to the pen. Sure, it can be looped around the pocket clip, but that’s not going to keep it from getting lost. Granted, I’m not the most mechanically-minded person out there, but I really believe this is an oversight. I contacted Toshiba’s tech support with this question, and they didn’t have a clue either. Go figure. [Update: a user on one of the forums where I posted this question demonstrated a way to connect the strap to the stylus. It works, but it's not overly secure.]

The Best 8" Tablet? 

In spite of the minor issues, the Toshiba Encore 2 Write turns out to be the exact 8" tablet I have been wanting. It seems made for the stylus instead of the stylus being an afterthought, and there is enough drive space—and more with an added microSD card—to make the tablet truly useful as a mobile computing experience. I specifically wanted the 8" size, but for only $49 more at $399, the full 10" tablet is a bargain. I highly recommend it—especially since the Surface mini continues to be a no-show!

Two Additional Thoughts

When I originally wrote this post for SurfaceGeeks, it didn't seem appropriate to discuss performance on Accordance, but I will mention it briefly here. Note that a Windows tablet allows use of the full blown desktop Accordance instead of the powerful, but less feature-rich iOS version. Unlike Logos, which is unbearable (and unusable) on any PC or tablet with an Atom processor, Accordance will run on any computer that you can buy off the shelf as well as just about any computer currently in use today. I've actually enjoyed using Accordance on the Encore 2 Write. It's handy for taking to church. They stylus is required, of course, for crossover highlighting of English and original language biblical texts as well as the minimize, maximize and close buttons in Accordance zones. I highly recommend it for this kind of use. Moreover, use of a tablet like the Encore 2 Write allows use of Accordance in portrait mode, which brings about a completely different perspective on how to use the software, especially for reading monograph titles. See the screenshot below of Accordance on the Encore 2 Write to see an example of this. 

I should also point out that when I wrote the original review, the idea of a Surface Mini was still fresh in a lot of people's minds. There was hope that perhaps this device, which was rumored to have already been in production before Microsoft cancelled it, might still show up at some point. Since that time, Microsoft has announced the Surface 3, a less-expensive and smaller Surface tablet running a full version of Windows (as opposed to the now-discontinued Windows RT) on a slightly more powerful Atom processor (Quad-core Intel Atom x7-Z8700). I was offered the opportunity to order a 128 GB Surface 3 with keyboard and pen for half the regular price. That was too good of a deal to pass up, but I have no justification for keeping both the Encore 2 Write and the Surface 3. Presumably, if I like the Surface 3, I will probably put the Encore 2 Write up for sale on eBay. 

Questions? Thoughts? Comments? Rebuttals? Leave them in the comments.

Monday
Mar312014

Happy 20th Birthday, Accordance!

Accordance is celebrating its 20th birthday this year, having released version 1.0 in 1994. I didn't begin using it until 1998, when it was around version 3, I believe. Accordance played a significant role in my move from using Windows to the Macintosh in 1998. As I was considering the transition, Bible software was my last and most important holdup. I wanted to make certain that I could still access original language texts like I could do with the software I was using at the time in Windows. Someone told me about Accordance, and I began researching the program. After reading a handful of 3rd party reviews, I was blown away. I can't remember the details now, but I remember realizing that I couldn't do what I was reading about Accordance in any program that I knew of running on Windows.

Of course, today Accordance runs on Windows as well as the Mac--and iOS. I use Accordance every day and have done so for years. I have four Bible software programs installed on my MacBook Pro, but 95% of what I need Bible software for I do in Accordance. It's my go-to program. Accordance is not only fast, but it also does all my exegetical "heavy lifting." 

Through April 9, Accordance is running a 20% off everthing sale. That's everthing--even the larger collections of software. To take advantage of the sale, use the code "Anni20."

 

Your questions, thoughts, comments and rebuttals are welcome in the comments section.