Archive for August 23rd, 2006

23
Aug
06

Biiible – A Great Resource for the Word

Biiible - Bible search for the Google freakWho says that Christian web sites aren’t hip? (Well, actually, I used to say that.) But not any more. I’ve seen some great uses of technology to spread the word of God. There are a few online Bibles that have been great resources for studying or researching, but probably the greatest example is Biiible.com. (That’s ‘Bible’ with three (3) “i”s.)

Biiible‘s tagline is, “Bible Search for the Google Freak”. (I hope Google lawyers don’t come after these folks). Just like Google, it has a very simple, uncluttered homepage. But don’t let the simple interface fool you. You can use the search window to find a verse of scripture in one of sixteen different translations, including the King James Spanish translation. This is an excellent resource for those times when you know the verse, but can’t recall where it’s found. For instance, I was looking for the scripture in an earlier post where Paul advises that we should “pray without ceasing”. And so I entered that text in the search window and came up with not only the verse, but links to other verses with similar sentiments. The search results will tell you the number of instances that a word appears. For instance, I typed in the word “love” and it came up with 546 hits. However, keep in mind that it finds all words with that root. So, words like “beloved” are included. (I’m sure there’s a way to search for a word alone.)

Searching is not limited to a word or a verse. If you enter “Acts 10”, the site will bring up the 10th chapter of the Book of Acts. And even better, you can click on the “Compare Two Versions” link and see a side-by-side comparison of two translations.

The site also has a dictionary/lexicon for most generic terms as they apply to the scripture.

Best of all, under the “Downloads” section of the page are PDF and even Microsoft Word copies of all sixteen of their translations! I downloaded the MS Word copy of the King James version — it looks great. Beautifully formatted (although the files are understandably large in size. The King James versions in MS Word and PDF formatting are 6.6 and 7 megabytes, respectively. That’s a pretty big size for a document, so be patient if it takes a few seconds to open.) If you have a laptop but no Internet connection, these folks even have a JavaScript version of the website that you can search without being connected.

For all of the great information that’s available on Biiible.com, understand that there is no substitute for cuddling up with a well-thumbed, leather-bound copy of the scripture. However, for those times when we are doing research or studying in front of our computers, this is an excellent alternative.

God bless the good folks at Biiible.com. They’ve done a great job in making the Word of God available and accessible to everyone on the web. Check out the site — it’s a great resource.

23
Aug
06

Assignment: Prepare for Disaster

Over the past two days, like many others I’ve been watching parts of the Spike Lee documentary, When the Levees Broke, on HBO detailing the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. Initially I didn’t have a strong desire to see it — not because I was disinterested. Rather, it was because I had a strong indication about what I might see….and I knew it wouldn’t be good.

Well, I was wrong. It was much worse than I could have imagined. Often we see so many of the same images that we’re desensitized to the actual event. The film brought new images to my eyes. And even worse, the film began to put more detailed images of people’s last Earthly moments in my mind. Families trapped in attics thinking that the water wouldn’t reach that high…. as they gasp for their final breath. Bed-ridden and wheelchair bound people who couldn’t have created a mock-raft even if their life depended on it (and sadly, in this case, it did.) Children floating face down with backpacks. It was a depressing look at a dark period in American history. (This is the one time when I wish I didn’t have a high-definition television.)

Rather than focus on the emotions that the film stirred up (and I could easily go on), I think we should use the Katrina example as an opportunity to prepare for disaster near our own homes. This week in church one of my friends gave a great presentation on things that we should be doing to prepare for disaster. It’s true, we don’t plan to fail — but often we fail to plan. And everything she said was key. Designate a meeting place where you and your family agree to meet, if separated. Identify a family member out of state who everyone should contact and who would serve as the central point of information. Keep water and canned foods in the house…. just in case. All great precautions.
Since this is a tech-focused, site, I thought it might be a good opportunity to share another strategy. In the event that tragedy strikes my home (either via fire, flood, hurricane…. or worse) I can live without all of the “stuff” that’s in the house. Everything is replaceable. Every DVD, gadget, computer, mobile phone….heck, even my MacBook Pro is replaceable. However, there are some things that you can’t just go to EBay or Amazon and buy new versions of. The pictures of a deceased loved one. The photos of your son’s first birthday party. Death certificates. Identity cards. Tax returns. Banking information. Property deeds. In the time of disaster, I can’t take my file cabinet along with me. But there is an alternative. Continue reading ‘Assignment: Prepare for Disaster’

23
Aug
06

Great Firefox Add-Ons (Including Saving YouTube Video Locally!)

title-firefox.gif It seems as if overnight everyone jumped on the Mozilla Firefox bandwagon. (It still amazes me — I would have bet the farm that the Internet Explorer reign was firmly in place. Guess I was wrong.)

One of the things that makes Firefox so great are all of the customizations that the development community have created. And for me to recognize “customizations” in a product is saying a lot. I’m a rather creative bloke, but I’ve never been one to do a lot of “wild customizations”. No iPod interface hacks for me. No weird XP setups where the toolbar is on the side of the screen (or God forbid, at the top!) I’ll pass on tricking out a BMW with big shiny rims. (To me, it’s sacrilegious and just about the most tacky thing you can do to a classy car.) But for some reason these Firefox extensions are just what the doctor ordered.

There are some really silly extensions that add clocks and images that, to me, clutter up your browsing experience. However, there are some really cool ones. There are several “themes” that simply change the look and feel of the toolbar and icons. (A refreshing way to update the interface.) However, I’m going to focus on the “add-ons” — the life savers that do things like recover all closed windows after a system or browser crash.

Here are five of my favorites. (Feel free to share others in the comments section.)

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VideoDownloader 1.0, by Javi Moya – When I first read the description of this add-on claiming that you could “save most videos that you see while browsing”, I kinda chuckled. Yeah, right. This programmer-dude thinks he can do with an add-on what folks have been trying to do in other stand-alone efforts for years. Well, I was wrong again. (I seem to be admitting my poor foresight often in this post.) VideoDownloader sits on the toolbar and is almost unnoticeable. However, it works like a charm. I saved a few videos that I have been regularly visiting YouTube to see. Some of them, like…..every day. I’m sure YouTube doesn’t like this, but I figure I’m saving them a few bucks on their bandwidth bill.

NOTE: You’ll be saving files in an “flv” format. If you haven’t familiarized yourself with VLC Media Player already, please, run….don’t walk…. to http://www.videolan.org and download a copy. This thing will play just about any video you can throw at it. Continue reading ‘Great Firefox Add-Ons (Including Saving YouTube Video Locally!)’