May 29, 2008

QuarkXPress 8 Supports OpenType/Unicode

The support for Unicode and OpenType in QuarkXPress 8 represents a vast improvement in typography, and I'm hoping represents one more step towards publishers embracing Unicode standards for language font/glyph requirements.

May 26, 2008

Accordance 8.0 Is Here With More Powerful Searches

Accordance 8.0 is here. It looks like our old Accordance in most ways, but there have been many changes under the hood. I'm most thrilled to now have a Universal Binary that runs with less system resource on Intel Macs. Other fantastic features are:

  • the [ANY]  tag, letting you search for, say, case across adjectives, nouns, participles, etc.
  • the [FUZZY] search, which will help me find those verses where I kinda know how it goes.
  • the new [INFER] command which opens many doors for searching inter-textuality.
  • the new text customizations, including spacing, text color and background color.
  • draggable panes (though I don't care for the look of the new horizontal text panes).
  • and perhaps my favorite new feature... greater Unicode compatibility! You can paste Unicode text into a search box and it automagically gets converted to the Accordance font schemes. This renders my own Unicode to Helena converters needless, unless you're still wanting to do bible/user tool creation based on Unicode texts.
All in all, there's much here to make many happy. Do yourself a favor and check out the video demoing the new search capabilities.

Way to go, Accordance!

May 23, 2008

Accordance 8.0 Release Soon

The Accordance Blog today revealed (see "Soon, Very Soon") that they plan to release the newly rebuilt version of Accordance Bible Software in less than a month. The major feature made public is that the underpinnings of Accordance have been rewritten to run as a Universal Binary. Hallelujah! With this kind of rewrite, and with a new "point oh" release from Oak Tree, we have historical reasons to expect some serious new features.

Let's call "less than a month" less than 29 days (they're a conservative bunch). Why don't we throw up a timer then.

Update: Accordance 8.0 has been released:

May 13, 2008

VBA Coming to Microsoft Office 2012

According the the Mac Business Unit at Micro$oft, they have seen the error of their ways and determined to reintegrate Visual Basic for Applications scripting back into the next major release of Office. If only they would've consulted me to start with... VBA was a cross platform feature that allowed for advanced forms, and also tremendous customization. It was sacrificed in Office 2008 to speed up the release date.

So, you can add VBA to my predictions for Microsoft Word 2012 (or thereabouts).

Although, it's always possible that by then we'll all be using OpenOffice and not buying.

May 12, 2008

b-b-beta fever

I bought VMWare Fusion last December to load on my office computer (since our church management software is Windoze only). I've only just gotten around to installing, prompted by WMWare's release of the new beta 2.0. I installed via Bootcamp first, and the first time I saw that "Windows XP" load screen on my beautiful MacBook, I confess I had a little gag reflex. Still, everything worked perfectly... I booted into Windows, played one round of solitaire (which is all I ever see people using Windows for), and then installed Fusion. This application allows me to run Windows apps I must have right alongside my Mac apps.

As I looked down at my dock, I notice that half of my apps are in beta (I can't confirm some, hehe). Here's a screenshot of me running the new beta of Firefox and OpenOffice in Windows on a virtual machine in the new Fusion Beta. (None of which is necessary since both of them run native on OS X now.) 3.0 Beta Goes Aqua

I have been recommending to others for some time that they consider NeoOffice as a free/open-source replacement for Micro$oft Office. NeoOffice is a port of OpenOffice, which needed the Unix X11 interface wrapper to run on OS X. (Translation: it ran slow and didn't look Mac-like and was complicated to run since it relied on the Unix under-pinnings of your Mac.)

This is changing with version 3 of OpenOffice... they are porting it to Aqua which means it runs like and looks like other Mac apps. Here is a first look at the 3.0 Beta just released this week and things look promising. When it goes to full release, I expect I will be deploying it and recommending it.

On a side note, Recently in the comments, a NeoOffice aficionado mentioned that the NeoOffice team may continue development past OO 3.0. This concerns me. I know alot of work has gone into the excellent NeoOffice but if it gets deprecated, it gets deprecated. I recently sent money to NeoOffice project and don't regret it for a second, even if its need is shortlived. I will be interested to see a public statement from the NeoOffice team on intentions when the time comes. It is too soon to expect that from them at this time. Much will depend on the shape and sustainability of the final OO 3.0 release.

The big news is that this is all great for the state of open source productivity apps on the Mac.

May 11, 2008

Text Critic Sound Bites

The Greer-Heard Point-Counterpoint Forum was host to to text critics addressing questions around whether or not the text of the New Testament was reliable. The brief coverage articles are a great example of sound-bite-quotey, so I thought I might take some of the quotes even further out of context:

If [the number of variants] were the only piece of data we had it would discourage anyone from attempting to recover the wording of the original, but there is more to the story. The reason we have a lot of variants is that we have a lot of manuscripts. To speak about the number of variants without also speaking about the number of manuscripts is simply an appeal to sensationalism. -- Daniel Wallace
And if the violence in Iraq is down, it is because the enemy is being defeated because the troop surge is working; and if the violence in Iraq is up, it is because the enemy in their last throes because the troop surge is working.
There are more differences in our manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament. Well, that's a lot. -- Bart Ehrman
Well, it is alot.
In short, the elemental tenacity in the New Testament textual tradition not only permits but demands that we proceed on the premise that, in every instance of textual variation, it is possible to determine the form of the original text. -- Michael Holmes
But if we acknowledge we will never reach certainty, is proceeding as if it were so a flawed approach?
Scripture will not, in and of itself, lead us to destruction. -- Dale Martin
True. You must add capitalism into the mix.
Would the author of Matthew’s Gospel, if he came along and looked over their shoulder, have... said ‘Look’s good enough to me’? -- David Parker
He may also say, "Do you mind?"
It’s an exciting field. There’s a lot happening. Maybe it’s time for you to think about jumping on in, because the water’s pretty great these days in New Testament textual criticism. -- William Warren

May 10, 2008

Twitter Tweets Screensaver

I have used Twitter only briefly. It logged progress on one aspect of my dissertation... the progress through a text reconstruction. I am not a regular Twitter user, though I like the idea of scholars doing brief work updates on Twitter.

If you're tired of pictures of your kids, you can follow your Twitter Tweet subscriptions in a screen saver that may already be loaded on your computer.

May 07, 2008

Unicode Now Most Common Text Format

Unicode is now the most common text encoding for pages found on the web. (Google made the report recently on their blog.) Let many note that this evidences that the writing is now on the wall, perhaps in a room that's already been remodeled without you're realizing it:

  • If you are a scholar whose writing includes reference to Greek or Hebrew or another language and do not know how to use unicode in your documents, it is not a fad that is going away.
  • If you are a publisher and are still considering when you should shift to unicode standards for your manuscript submissions, stop considering.
  • If you are a software developer and you have no unicode implementation or only partial/patchwork unicode implementation, the train is pulling away from the station.
  • If you haven't a clue what unicode is, you would benefit from this quick read.