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It’s been over ten years since I’ve written a comprehensive review of Bible Software for Christian Computing Magazine and the last one I did took weeks to complete (which I don’t have available currently). But, I thought I could afford the time to offer some suggestions on the best free Bible software for the PC on the market currently. Although there are 12 free desktop Bible applications currently, 4 of them warrant your consideration, in my opinion.
This software application is currently in beta 1 phase. But, it is pretty stable. It is a significant improvement over version 2 in terms of interface design. If you are willing to do without the more common contemporary translations, this application is intuitive and well designed. It’s search capabilities are reasonably good. If you are into original language studies, this application will give you a lot of options. This application is only available for the PC.
Bible Explorer provides a clean, simple user interface. It downloads only with the KJV installed but you can download 19 other free translations (no popular contemporary translations) along with dozens of commentaries and other books. If you choose to purchase a popular translation like the NIV, NASB, NLT, etc., they will work with any upgrades you make to Bible Explorer or if you move up to their high-end WORDsearch application. The latest version of Bible Explore (4) is available for the PC or Mac. You can purchase additional translations but they tend to be a bit expensive. If you like the free version of BE, you may want to consider some of the upgrade packages as they are cheaper than buying the individual translations (if you find a package that has the translation you are looking for).
The latest iteration of e-sword is built on a new data format so if you’ve been running earlier version, you will have to do some reinstallation. One thing that I really like about e-Sword is that the Bible translations you purchase are much cheaper than they are with similar applications (usually around $20 versus $30-40 with others).
Xiphos provides a nice interface. It’s ability to add translations and resources from directly within the application is very helpful. I have experienced the Module Manager hanging up on me that requires the app to be restarted. It supports Windows, Linux and UNIX. It is part of the SWORD project and so the files it uses are inter-operable with other SWORD applications and projects.
MacSword can read the same files as e-sword. MacSword is like Xiphos a CrossWire application using the The SWORD Project’s underlying programming librariy and modules. Both MacSword and Xiphos are open source programmes.
Well, I won’t go into any more detail since these are free applications, you can download them yourself, compare them and see what you think.
Also, you iPhone users will love YouVersion’s free online Bible application. It offers every popular translation you can imagine for free. I love the user interface too. But, you do have to have Internet connectivity to access it. You can find it in the Apple App Store. My friend Stephen suggests Olive Tree’s free Bible reader for the iPhone. It offers a lot of free translations but if you want the popular translations, you have to pay for them. Instead of being an online application, Olive Tree downloads the translations directly to your phone so you can access them when you don’t have connectivity.
If you have any thoughts or feedback, please share them…
I am actively hunting for a job… hopefully here in the Dallas/Ft Worth area… Just posted my resume here.
Many years ago I predicted that video would be moving to High Definition and that it would settle in at 1080p resolution. I also predicted that DVD would soon follow suit with an HD version that has become BlueRay. I also predicted that the format war couldn’t last as long as others had or the DVD market would never make the shift to HD.
Okay, so now what’s next?
Whereas it took decades for the television industry to move some standard to high definition, I don’t believe it will remain at 1080p for nearly that long. The reason for this belief is that digital video technology has been growing at one of the fast rates of any technology segment on the market.
The professional video industry as well as the film industry are clearly and rapidly shifting into digital. Hollywood and independent filmmakers are the ones on the cutting edge who are pushing the envelope. Several years ago an unknown company built a prototype digital video camera that brought image quality and color saturation near to film quality. That project was called the Red One (www.red.com). I watched with great interest for many years, downloaded the sample video and specs and such and yet it never took off for many passing years.
Then, all of a sudden Red took off like the wind and has swept through Hollywood and independent filmmakers. For the past couple of years, the Red was built on a 4K resolution platform. This has become pretty standard for editing digital video in recent years. Even some video projects have hit the market that are capable of displaying this high density resolution.
Well, recently Red announced that their high-end line, the Epic, would capturing video at 28,000 horizontal lines resolution. That’s 28 times the resolution of today’s HD television sets and 28 times the resolution of BlueRay DVD players.
The costs to manufacture the CMOS/CCD to capture higher rez video continues to drop (this is the beginning point in the food chain). The horsepower needed to edit the video continues to drop (See Apple’s latest revamp of their MacPro) – the second factor in the video resolution food chain. These two are now givens as they can handle far higher resolutions than the remainder of the video components downstream. If these were the only two factors in the equation, we would be watching super-high definition anytime now.
The third component in the chain is the television sets to display higher resolution video. Finally, the content needs to be distributed in higher resolutions such as broadcast, cable, satellite, Internet and DVD. It’s only a matter of time before television manufacturers will be able to output much higher resolutions. Several computer manufacturers like Apple and Dell have had 30″ displays out for years that display 2560×1600. But, this is certain to increase considerably in upcoming years.
They will likely begin with upconverters that take BlueRay and HD television and upconvert them to 2, 3, 4K. The key is getting content and media out at that resolution. If Moore’s Law holds true (and it has been very constant for the past few decades), the next generation of disc-based technology that can support dramatically higher resolutions is probably 6 or so years away.
Getting higher resolution out via cable and satellite should be doable are fiber switches are getting faster all the time. The big challenge is getting television broadcast at much higher definitions. There’s only so much radio bandwidth available and they can’t keep redividing it up. Compression will certainly improve but not enough to take existing bandwidths to this high or resolution.
Well, just some anecdotal thoughts… John