August 31, 2006

ericb's place: at Apple Expo (Paris)

NeoOffice releases the new version and in response, the rumored aqua (non java) version of Open Office is announced to be arriving next week. This is VERY exciting news as well. Take a look at the screen shots.

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August 29, 2006

NeoOffice Feature Comparison - NeoWiki

The new beta version of NeoOffice is now available for free download. This is the aqua version of Open Office 2.0.3 (not requiring X11 or other acrobatics). This is a VERY promising possibility for your primary office programs, including right to left Hebrew and more. Have a look at the NeoOffice feature comparison page. Also check out their wiki.

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August 25, 2006

EndNote X for Mac OS X Released

A new version of Endnote has been released today:

Carlsbad CA, USA - August 25, 2006
Today, Thomson ResearchSoft (, a business of The Thomson Corporation, announced the immediate availability of EndNote X for Mac OS X, the bibliographic management software used by millions of researchers, librarians and students.
Curiously, the release says that the new version is "designed for Intel® Core(TM)" and that it combines "other features with the power of the Mac Intel Core."

What I find curious is that it does not use the all-important phrase "universal binary". Nor are there systems requirements listed to check and see if this release is for Intel processors only. I'll be looking for a report on what gives.

For me, I'm waiting for Bookends to go universal... please hurry.

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August 21, 2006

Accordance on a Nintendo DS
Well, in the past I mentioned efforts to get a Mac OS running on a Sony PSP. This is a blast from the past. Since Accordance is supported back to System 7 (I still get teary-eyed when I remember System 7), looks like you could run Accordance on an old Nintendo DS portable you had running around.

August 20, 2006

Greek and Hebrew in Writely

Google's Writely , a collaborative web-based word processer, is getting close to prime time. There are several versions of these type of "Web 2.0" applications popping up. The notion is that you can keep a word processing (or think wysiwyg html creator) on Writely's system and share any given document with any number of users, all who can work on the same document if you choose, even at the same time. What I was interested in looking, was how do they handle Unicode Greek and Hebrew.
It's good and bad.
The great news for Writely is that it seemed to handle pasting and typing of right to left unicode Hebrew text quite well. Even the behavior for lines containing both LTR and RTL (בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים) seemed to work as expected. That's great news.
The bad news is that some Greek was working erratically. It seems to cover the extended Greek unicode range with multiple diacriticals (οὖν), but I couldn't get it for instance to take any accent over an upsilon. ::shrug::
So, perhaps it's getting there, but not quite yet.

P.S. I wrote this blog post in Writely.

August 17, 2006

Jesus ⌘S's

This is outstanding. The folks at have produced a "Jesus ⌘S's" T-shirt for Mac fans. (If you haven't yet figured it out, think key combos.)

Jesus (and my washing machine) knows I already have too many T-shirts, but this sure is tempting.

August 06, 2006

"Jesus Camp" Review

I'm not a fan of Michael Moore. I think he's a bully; never saw the anti-Bush propanda film. But this Jesus Camp, the latest of his sensational documentaries a film he's insisting on screening at his film festival, despite the fact the producers don't want to be associated with Moore, well, it intrigues me. I might try and see it. From a review by David Byrne:

It focuses on a woman preacher (Becky Fischer) who indoctrinates children in a summer camp in North Dakota. Right wing political agendas and slogans are mixed with born again rituals that end with most of the kids in tears.
Ever since I heard The West Wing make the point that "Al Qaida is to Islam as the KKK is to Christianity," I've long thought that some extreme aspects of today's religious right differs very little in methodology in terms of unquestioning indoctrination.

The most profound question the review makes is to ask

how did accepting the evidence for climate change and global warming become anti-Jesus?
Why has the religious right jumped on this anti-climate change self-deception? I can only think that it is a result from lying in bed with corporate conservatives (with a clear stake in the issue) within the Republican party for the sake of political success.

I really, really think God wanted us to take care of the earth. ::shrug::

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August 02, 2006

How Not to do a Bible Widget

Logos Research Systems sent me an email a few weeks ago announcing a Dashboard widget they have released, the Logos Bible Widget. And this appearance confirms my fears about Logos moving into the Mac market--big and slick marketing to accompany a sub-standard product.

The widget allows you at most to input the reference to a single verse and receive the relevant text from the KJV--and that's it. Put in "John 1:1-2" and it breaks with the message "No such book 'John 3' found." Now, with this limitation of text and range, has this an ounce of utility? The announcement of the widget says:

The main purpose for the widget is to provide Mac users with a speedy alternative to grabbing a Bible off the shelf or going to Bible Gateway to conduct a search there.
The limitations of the widget make this statement absurd. Writing a decently robust scripture range parser would only take a couple hours, but it seems the code and hence utility of the widget are an afterthought. And as such, the widget would be a waste of pixel space in one's dashboard--and what a huge waste at that. Click on the image to take a look at the size of this thing:

It shows a complete disregard of Apple's interface standards for widgets. It is the biggest widget I've ever seen, and Apple's standards clearly indicate the minimalist approach for the widget interface. Keep it small, and don't waste space. "Waste space with what?" you may ask. This comes from Apple's Widget UI standards:

A widget is not the place to display aggressive company advertising or branding. Your widget is not merely an entrance to another application, even if that other application performs the processing for the widget’s task. If you take advantage of Dashboard’s prominence to display a banner ad, for example, users will be likely to stop including your widget in the Dashboard display.
What makes the Mac experience the Mac experience is that developers give some weight to Apple's UI standards. The folks at Logos who developed this widget were either unaware of these guidelines (implying incompetence as a Mac developer) or ignored them (the symptom of a windoze developer without an appreciation for this aspect of developing on a Mac).

I'm just going to call a duck a duck, here. What I found on my dashboard, was not so much a useful scripture lookup utility as it was a billboard. While the functionality of the widget received little attention, look where it excells--the pretty branding and logos (hmm.... logo... Logos... hmm) The nature of this "aggressive company advertising" includes large branding and a prominent web link, that takes you to their web site's URL "" that calls it a "widget ad"! Clearly, the widget is "merely an entrance to another application." And what is worse, it is an entrance to another application that doesn't even exist. Well over a year now, Logos announced that they would be finishing a Mac product by the end of 2005, that they were bringing 4,000 titles to the Mac soon. Last year I characterized the premature announcement from Logos as a "me too" announcement in anticipation of Quickverse's proclamation of delivering a Mac product (which they did within a month), and the appearance of this widget simply sustains that line of promotion.

Logos for Mac has clearly plummeted into the abyss of vaporware and if it ever materializes, this widget does not make me optimistic about the result.