Posts Tagged ‘software’

Navigation in Accordance 10

September 17th, 2013 No comments

Something jumped out at me in my last posting, where I mentioned the “QuickTip” about the Accordance 10 auto context slider.

In that tip, they say,

many people use the top search bar as a navigational tool.

That suggests there is another way to navigate. And what might that be? I looked at their help to find out. Accordance help is a web page, but it’s local to your system, which is great when you’re offline, but makes it hard for me to link to it here.

Anyway, it turns out that Accordance offers several ways to navigate.

The first is using the Scroll bars. Since Apple ruined the scroll bar in Lion, that’s useless. (Sure. Use a scroll bar to move around among 37,000 verses. Just give it a flick like you were on your iPhone. Yep.)

The second is the navigation buttons, shown in the blue circle here:

Navigation in Accordance 10

Those are great for fine-tuning your location, but not all that helpful if you’re trying to to a specific location. Quick: find Psalm 119 with those buttons.

That leaves the “Go To box” (in the green circle). That gives you all the functionality of the “verse search” feature. Unfortunately, it gives you the same problems as well. It shows you context whether you want it or not. If you ask for Psalm 117, you’re going to get 118 too. It offers a drop-down, but the drop down is based on your text, not the portion you’d like to limit it to. So if your text includes the Apocrypha, which the NRSV does, then your Navigation will include that. The book after Malachi is Tobit, even if you’ve tried to wish it away using the Range feature:

Navigation - Accordance 10

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Accordance Auto Context

September 17th, 2013 No comments

As I’ve said before, I’m not a fan of the Accordance 10 “auto context” slider, but YMMV. Accordance publishes an email newsletter (not repurposed on their web site, apparently, or I’d link to it) describing the use of the context slider. In the article they explain some of the logic that is supposed to make the “auto context” feature intelligent:

  • Romans 10:1: For this verse search, auto-context will set the Context slider to All. This is because many people use the top search bar as a navigational tool, and when searching for an individual verse, users often intend this to be a starting point for further study.
  • Romans 10:1-5: For this verse search, auto-context will set the Context slider to 0. Since you set a specific range of verses, auto-context assumes you only want to see the versers in that range.
  • Love: For this word search (and all others), auto-context will set the Context slider to 0. This allows you to quickly scan through your search results and add context as desired.
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Accordance 10 Nano-Review

September 4th, 2013 No comments

I’ve been a user of Accordance Bible software for a decade, and last week I upgraded from Accordance 9.x to 10.x.

I’d sat on my wallet these past several months because I just didn’t see anything new in 10.x that would make it a compelling upgrade for me. However, they were running a promotion that enabled me to “buy and save” (both! at the same time!) so I went ahead and bought the upgrade.

So coming from the perspective of a semi-reluctant purchaser, here are my first quick impressions:

The new look is more Mac-like, but still pretty idiosyncratic. For example, you can still only resize windows using the widget in the bottom right corner, but you do get to have the new despicable, vile, thoroughly rotten and utterly useless Lion/Mountain Lion scroll bars.

Some of the changes are to my liking and others are not.

A change I mostly like is how the redesigned search window makes it easy to cascade search criteria. Here I’m doing a search for “David” and “Abraham” in the NT, and I limit it so they have to appear in the same verse.

Accordance 10 Search

You can see the little drop-down list (with “verse” selected above) that lets me change that to paragraphs, chapters, etc., as you can see here.

The reason I said “mostly like” instead of “like” is that when I work with the NRSV, I normally limit my searches to the Protestant Bible — a preset I made for Gen-Mal and Matt-Rev — and this search criteria widget is less accessible than before, and takes up more vertical screen real-estate. So it’s better, but not a 100% win.

However, not all the changes to Search were to my liking. In particular, I was unhappy to learn (the hard way) about “Auto Context.” What it does is add supporting context to all your searches. There’s a little knob (at the far left of the search bar, right above the search results window) you can use to reduce the amount of context.

The problem is that by default it doesn’t give you additional context in a search, even when the search doesn’t provide much information. When I did the above search for David and Abraham, it (sensibly) assumed I only wanted to see the matching verses.

But when you search for verses, Accordance shows you the context. I can barely see a use for that when you’re searching for a specific verse and you can’t remember what it was. Suppose you couldn’t remember where John 3:16 was and you searched for John 3:17 instead. Here’s what you get:

Accordance 10 Search

You get a ton of context, and it’s all unhelpful, because it starts where you told it to start. You miss the only thing that would make it helpful. The context includes 37415 verses, but it doesn’t display a single verse prior to the one you searched for. Note how the (horrible useless vile rotten OSX) scroll bar shows that your window really has all 37K verses there for your browsing pleasure. You even get the Apocrypha as “context” despite having limited the search to the Protestant Bible.

Why isn’t the smarts in auto-context smart enough to do for verses what it did when I searched for words like David and Abraham, above? Beats me. What I did was turn it off. Here’s how:

Accordance 10 Search

(I whined about this “feature” yesterday on Twitter, and was delighted that someone at @AccordanceBible who monitors Twitter tweeted a tip about how to turn it off. Social Media-savvy companies FTW.)

For blocks of text larger than verses, though, why would you ever want to see more context? The context of chapter 3 is chapters 2 and 4. Duh. The context of Romans is Acts and 1 Corinthians. The context of Malachi is…, well, that’s actually kind of complicated.

But there’s a greater problem. Accordance thinks its users “search” for verses. But who does that? John 3:16 is always located in the same place. I want to navigate there, not search for it.

But what (you say) if you want to find that place in John 3 where God sent Jesus into the world, but you can’t remember if it was God or Father, or Jesus or Christ or the Son, and all you can remember is “world.” Wouldn’t it be helpful to search for verses then?

Sure. You just can’t do it when you’re “searching” for verses. If you add words to a verse search, you get an error message telling you “There are extra characters after the verse reference,” and offering to fix it by adding a colon. (Which doesn’t fix it.)

But that kind of search is useful. That’s why Accordance lets you add a range of verses when you search for a word. Like this:

Accordance 10 Search Word in Range

(Note how the auto-context feature is automatically narrowing the search to exclude the context. If only it was smart enough to do that with verses!)

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Anybody have a PC to spare?

April 15th, 2010 No comments

We’ve had a number of problems with the secretary’s PC lately.

Crash 1 - Windows PC

The infamous Blue Screen of Death

It’s doing this a lot. A whole lot.

If you have a not-too-obsolete PC you could spare, we could certainly put it to work in the office.

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Dictation Software Chuckle

February 15th, 2010 No comments

In my work, I use MacSpeech Dictate, a voice-recognition program for the mac, a fair bit. (It’s pretty good software: the kind you swear by as much as you swear at. Most bad software you either throw out or become resigned to. Dictate I like enough to entertain hopes they’d improve it. Another sign of my regard: I’m thinking about getting their new product, MacSpeech Scribe, so I can have non-interactive voice recognition. Think, sermon transcriptions.)

Anyway, one of the ways I use it is to save myself the trouble of typing some of the prayers in the PC(USA) Book of Common Worship. Mostly, the software does a good job, but once in awhile you get something amusing, like this:

Grant us, O Lord,
the grace always to do in pink
what accords with your purpose;

That’s an interesting image. It was supposed to be “and think.”

Maybe this was an “inspired” error: it’s a lot easier to think about things than to do them. So, to combine two slogans (from Nike and the breast-cancer awareness people): Just do it. In pink.

Categories: living Tags: , , ,


December 12th, 2009 2 comments

I just spent awhile reading our Book of Order to understand the different categories of church membership.

I can’t claim to understand it all, but one thing is clear: the spreadsheet I have now lists different people with their membership status in one column. At a minimum I need to add another column that says when their status last changed. But I should probably change all the ‘inactive’ people to any of three different varieties of inactivity.

(Who thinks this stuff up? “Deck chairs, meet Titanic.”)

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Mechanical Bible Study

May 22nd, 2009 No comments

On a lark, I just posted an item about a search I did for all the verses in the New Testament that matched certain criteria. I’m posting this note because it might not be obvious that I’m aware of some dangers inherent in a too-mechanical study of the Bible.

First, as I considered the problem, I realized it is a hard thing to describe grammatically. For example, my original search was for 2nd-person verbs. But that’s not enough, since many commands or promises or reassurances are issued to a third person yet have implications for the hearer (John 3:16, for example: “everyone who believes … may have”). If I spent any more time, I’m sure I could come up with other examples.

Second, I didn’t (initially) make it clear that the list is not the end. The list of matching verses is rather a starting point for further study. For example, the first result is from Matthew 2:20, where the angel says to Joseph: “get up” and go to Egypt with the child and its mother. This is obviously not a command to all future Christians, because it is directed at a specific person in a unique circumstance. The software can’t figure that out, but a reader can.

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What Should We Do?

May 22nd, 2009 No comments

Have you ever wondered what the Bible says that we are supposed to do? Or what we are able to do? Or what we will do? Here’s your answer: Read more…

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