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One of the Oldest Known Copies of St. Paul’s Epistles Now Available in a Free App — Awesome

January 31st, 2013 4 comments

The University of Michigan Library’s most famous papyrus, known to scholars as Papyrus 46 (or P46), is now widely available in the form of an app for iPhone and iPad. Users of “PictureIt: EP” can flip through high-resolution images of the 3rd century codex—the oldest known copy of the Letters of St. Paul—as though through pages of a book. Obviously you do not permit ancient mss scholars come up with names of Apps. You can download a copy of the App here.

“This gives an idea of what it was like to read an ancient book, with no capitals, no spaces between words, and no punctuation,” explains Arthur Verhoogt, Acting Archivist of the Library’s Papyrology Collection. The app reveals a translation from the Greek into English with a touch of a finger, either word-by-word or by the page. Readily accessible annotations explain where the papyrus differs from the Standard Version that people know from their New Testament. They also point out scribal errors, which were common in an era when books were copied entirely by hand.

The codex in its entirety was originally made up of 104 leaves (pages), of which 86 survive. The University of Michigan purchased thirty leaves in the 1930s from antiquities dealers in Egypt, and the remaining 56 leaves (which are not included in the app) reside in the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, Ireland.

Verhoogt believes an app featuring the Pauline Epistles will be a great service. “A general audience wants to touch this text. It’s important to them,” Verhoogt says. Images of the leaves can be viewed online, but the presentation of P46 as an electronic codex, accompanied by the translation and annotations, provides a richer experience of the material, particularly for the non-scholar.

The app was made possible with the support of the Gardner and Ann Parsons Papyrology fund, and was built by Eric Maslowski, Digital Media Commons 3D Lab Manager, along with Graphics Engine Programmer Sean Petty and 3D Artist Stephanie O’Malley. Edgar Ebojo of the University of Birmingham prepared the translation.

Here’s a video on the App. Big HT: History of the Ancient World Blog

 

Categories: Apple Computer

Apple iPhone 4S: First Impressions

October 15th, 2011 2 comments

First impression? FANTASTIC.

Why do I say this? Siri. The AI [artificial intelligence[ voice command features on this thing with the “remind” feature is simply outstanding and so helpful. You’ve almost got to experience to appreciate it fully, but the Apple videos about Siri are not at all exagerrating. I already know this is going to be extremely helpful to me keeping me up on things and remind me of things I’ve got to do, all with voice commands. I love the camera upgrade and they’ve also upgraded the sound recording on it.

The picture quality is truly outstanding. Perhaps somebody can tell me if I’m wrong, but the screen looks better to me. I think they adjusted slightly the color balance. But whatever is going on, it is “sharper” and even nicer to look at it. I think Apple really has hit its stride with iPhone 4S. And the fact that now it is avaialable across multiple cell phone providers makes it an even better option for more people. If you have been waiting to get an iPhone, I’d say, now’s the time to take the plunge. The iPhone 4S is a dream come true and I can only imagine how the AI is going to continue to improve. I’m also very pleased the dimensions of the iPhone have not changed, allowing me to continuing using my Mophie external battery case, which is really nice since I’m burning more battery power than ever using Siri and location services.

So many other nice enhancements and features, I can’t really even begin to describe them all. I guess if you have not been an iPhone user from day one, you won’t appreciate all this as much, but trust me…this is a quantum leap forward.

Frankly, I could not be more pleased. Steve Jobs really new how to go out on the top! Kudos, Apple. Home run!

Categories: Apple Computer

iSad – A Lutheran Perspective on the Death of Steve Jobs – One More Thing

October 6th, 2011 Comments off

Steve Jobs was a man God blessed with many gifts. Lutherans have a particularly keen focus on the doctrine of vocation, that is, that no matter who we are, God uses the gifts He gives us to serve our neighbor and the world. God works through what we call “First Article” gifts. What does that mean? Martin Luther in his explanation of the First Article of the Apostles’ Creed, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth” asserts that God has given, each of us, all our abilities and talents, everything we are, and everything we have is a gift from God to be used to serve others. This is true of every human being. Steve Jobs was gifted with many of these “First Article” blessings. And it is through the gifts that God gives to all men, that He blesses the world with tools and technologies that help us. Steve Jobs was a person God chose to use to give us many of us these wonderful tools, tools now being used to communicate the Gospel of Christ worldwide in ways that we could hardly have even dreamed of just thirty or even twenty years ago. How we use those tools is the key.

Unlike some of my fellow Lutherans and other fellow Christians, who felt a need at Jobs’ passing to begin making pronouncements about his eternal destiny, I am not rushing to judgment. I can’t help but recall Abraham Lincoln’s quip, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than open your mouth and remove all doubt.” Can we learn from Steve Jobs’ errors and mistakes in life? Of course, and we should. Every bit as much as we must learn from our own. But must we, on the news of his passing, be so quick to condemn him and focus only on his faults and failings? No.

One more thing . . .

Steve Jobs was baptized and instructed in the Christian faith, so we can do a bit more than talk about “common grace,” we can also hope that God, in His own ways, at times and places of His choosing, may have worked in Steve’s life, at the last, a remembrance of the gifts from Christ He had received in His life. Unless you have been with a person in their last days, you have no idea what goes on in a person’s heart and mind in the closing days and moments of life. Let us hope that God brought back to Steve the remembrance of what he had been taught as a young man in a Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod confirmation class, taught by my friend Rev. Dr. Martin Taddey, now deceased.

So, let’s leave the judgement to God, and leave the judgmentalism to those who have no hope. We who have hope in Christ know that for all mankind the One who suffered, died and rose again as the victor over our greatest enemies: sin, death and the devil, has called us to be His very own. We hold out hope that, in His mercy, He once more reached into Steve Jobs’ heart and mind at the end. And that is the “one more thing” that would be better than anything Steve ever announced and told us about.

Categories: Apple Computer

Arch Books on iPad? Yup, there’s an App for that

April 11th, 2011 2 comments

I’m happy to announce that as of today there are sixteen Arch Books on the iTunes store, in iPad app format. This is a first for us and, these are among the very few, if not only, Bible story books for children available on the iPad, period. You can take a look at all sixteen titles available by looking at Concordia Publishing House’s Apps in the iTunes store. Here’s the link. Here’s a screen shot from the iTunes store. These are really cool apps. The child can listen and watch as the book is read to them, or…you can record  your own voice reading the book to the child. The bright, beautiful iPad display is really quite stunning and Arch books are a perfect fit for this platform. Here’s a screen shot, following the screen shot is another showing all sixteen titles presently available.

Is the Android Un-Lutheran?

August 25th, 2010 13 comments

Mr. Brian Yamabe, a fellow LCMS Lutheran, put up a post on his blog “Vocation in the Valley: Life Under the Cross” yesterday that I found very helpful and well put. Whenever I mention the Apple iPhone app marketplace, I get, understandably, a number of inquiries from Android uses asking if/when we will be releasing Android-friendly apps. Some ask nicely, some make blanket accusations, some get downright angry and say some pretty silly things. Well, Mr. Yamabe is a professional in the field and his blog post explaining why the Apple app market is, at this point, the place to be, offers very helpful insights. Let me assure you that CPH is monitoring all these developments very, very closely. We have a full time staff in our Emerging Products department who stays abreast of all the latest technological developments. We have not slammed the door shut on Android, but at this point, for the reasons Mr. Yamabe identifies below, we are devoting our work to the Apple app marketplace.We will continue to monitor the Android market and if/when we can devote resources to Android app development, we certainly will.

Here is his post:

Is Android Un-Lutheran?

The answer is, of course, no? I won’t bring up the “A” word, but the choice of handset operating system is neither commanded nor prohibited in Scripture. In fact, at the LCMS National Convention I ran into plenty of pastors with Android phones. And, yes, even I, a qualified “Apple Fanboy” have an Android phone (HTC Hero).

So why aren’t Concordia Publishing House (CPH) and others (myself included) writing apps for the Android? I’ve seen plenty of requests on FaceBook and Twitter asking for apps to be written for Android. So there is most certainly a need to be filled. Well, I won’t presume to speak for CPH, but I think I can shed some light on their thought processes as I explain my rationales.

Allocation of Resources

Every developer has a limited number of resources so has to decide what platform(s) to develop for. In the case of iOS vs Android the installed base of iOS devices more than doubles Android devices in the US and is almost 4x the number worldwide (intomobile). In addition to that, amount people spend on iOS apps dwarfs what people spend on Android apps (GigaOm). Based on these simple numbers it’s quite easy to choose what platform to develop for.

Ease of Development

I’ve done some cursory research into Android development and it is not very developer friendly at this point. UI layout is done in XML (text) files. Just think of trying to arrange your living room furniture by writing down the coordinates of your sofa, TV, etc. Also the number of widgets available for free is rather limited. Think wood crate furniture with anything more sophisticated needing to be hand crafted. The current state of Android development is like stuff I was doing 10+ years ago.

Things are Changing

But Android has some positives. It is gaining is popularity and had greater unit shipments than the iPhone in Q2 2010 (ZDNet) and App Inventor and Google’s developer friendliness will surely make the development situation better.

Some Things Won’t

That being said, Google is unlikely to do anything that would improve the market for apps. Why? Because Google isn’t in the business of selling apps, Google is in the business of selling ads. They want apps to embed ads as the mechanism for monetization. Additionally, Google hasn’t been able to address piracy on Android devices (AndroidHeadlines). They actually don’t have any incentives to put much effort in anti-piracy. If piracy is rampant, then the only way for developers to make money is to embed ads.

Like I said, I won’t presume to speak for CPH, but it is quite clear to me that now and into the near future developing for the iOS is the platform to develop for if you have limited resources and want to try to make money by selling your apps.

iPad: First Impressions

May 1st, 2010 3 comments

“Where is the USB port, Dad?” That was daughter’s first question, and a good one at that. “How can you connect it to your computer?” I showed her how and then…no worries. But it was interesting to hear her first reactions. She wasn’t sure what the iPad is. I’m not yet either. But, I can tell you this. The “hype” over the iPad was pretty much well deserved. Apple has been describing the iPad as a whole new way to experience the Internet. They are right. The touch screen interface allows you an immediacy to anything you are viewing that has never before been available. I hate to use the word “intimacy” but I’m not sure what other word to use to describe it.

The iPad is fast, very, very fast. The faster your connection to the Internet, the better, of course, when you are doing things on the Internet, which will be…a lot of thing. Everything “pops” instantly, a testimony to the custom chip with onboard RAM Apple designed and built for the iPad. Resize images? Move to new apps? Move around within apps? Instant response.

The built in speakers are really quite startling good, and of course, the less ambient noise around you the better. The display is stunning. Crisp. Sharp. Eye-popping color saturation.Text is easy to read. There is nothing “fuzzy” or visually distracting. I set the desktop image to one of the simple slate backgrounds. I’ve never liked “busy” background images. I love the “real estate” you have on the iPad, the ability to put quite a few apps down in the permanent dock at the bottom. I quickly moved the settings and app store apps down to the dock.

The sooner Apple comes out with OS 4 for the iPhone and, I assume, applies the same to the iPad the better. We’ll finally have multitasking, more important now than ever. It’s more than irritating to have to quit watching a video in order to turn the brightness up or down. ’nuff said.

At first I thought it was too heavy, but now I like the “substance” of the thing. With the Apple cover for it, and I hear there are better ones available, it has a nice tactile “heft” that is not too heavy, not too light. iPad screams “quality” while the Kindle screams, “Cheap piece of plastic.” Interestingly, I have spent perhaps 90% of my time with it in landscape mode, not portrait.

Is the iPad a big iPhone or a small MacBook laptop? Yes, kind of. Well, no, not really. It’s hard to say. I had just received my new desktop iMac the previous week and it came with the smallest of Apple’s bluetooth keyboards. Which is kind of funny and pathetic. You get a huge 27″ iMac and a tiny little keyboard. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with the keyboard, but then iPad showed up. Once I figured out how to shut off the keyboard being recognized by the big iMac, bang, iPad recognized the keyboard and the cool thing is that when it did, it shut off displaying the keyboard on the screen of the iPad. Very convenient to use at a desk. I am pretty sure I’ll be getting the cover you can use to adjust the display angle, but it is great using the iPad in landscape with a keyboard. Mouse is next. So, yes, in this way, it is a nice little netbook/laptop.

But, I wonder, if this is how I would use it most of the time, why not just buy a MacBook 13″ model? Well, apart from spending a whole lot more, I suspect the reason I would use the iPad is to retain all the portability of the iPad.

I’m enjoying using my favorite apps on the iPad. The Kindle app makes using/reading The Lutheran Study Bible on the iPad a real joy. The Crossway ESV iPad App is stunningly beautiful and useful. I’m pleased to see the Crossway ESV iPad app is ranked up in the top free 50 downloads for the iPad. I downloaded a few paid apps and they are all beautiful and show the potential reading experience possible on the iPad. Of course, as one wise dad of young children put it to me, “I can replace a $4.99 book a lot more easily than a $500 iPad if a child happens to drop it while having fun reading on it.

Where it really shines is as a personal video viewing device. Netflix’s app works well on it. I went ahead and downloaded a movie, Star Trek. Plugged in a spare set of ear buds and, “Beam me up.” Wow. What a great viewing experience.

Battery life? Impressive. I took it out of the box and it had a 95% charge. I fired up the 3G connection, and WiFi connection and Bluetooth, and turned the brightness all the way up, and….finally had to recharge it after at least seven hours of nearly use over the course of the afternoon and evening, with everyone having  a turn with it. Seven. Hours. I drained the battery down to 10% and plugged it in overnight, so we’ll see what a full cycle charge is like.

I’ll be spending more time today reading with it, trying out books and online magazines, etc. The Wall Street Journal for the iPad is fantastic. NPR’s iPad app and the BBC’s apps are terrific.

So, first impressions? This thing is a game-changer. No doubt about it. Was the hype, just hype? Sure, to some extent, but frankly, to my surprise, not as much as I thought. The “wow” factor with this thing is very high. And yes, sorry everyone, but it is a Kindle killer, and a Sony Reader killer, and a Nook killer. In light of Google’s plans to release something similar, on an Android platform, I really see no future for those devices. I know the price point is an obstacle/barrier for many, compared to the Kindle and its kin, but honestly, if you are going to buy a Kindle, and spend a few hundred bucks, I’d say, save up and get yourself an iPad. You’ll have all the benefits of the Kindle (thanks to the Kindle app for iPad) and a lot more features and opportunities with the iPad. Of course, if you are wise, you’ll wait for iPad Second Generation, which will mean a lower price and improvements. But, what can I say? I had a chance to get the iPad, and I appreciate it!

More later.

Categories: Apple Computer