Category Archives: Mac

Spacecraft 3D App (Augmented Reality)

Doug Ellison, of NASA JPL, gives a demo of the amazing Spacecraft 3D app. This free app allows you to explore 3D augmented reality imagery of the Mars Curiosity rover. The GRAIL spacecraft is also part of the current version of the app. Other spacecraft will be added over the coming months. NOTE: I clipped the video a few seconds BEFORE Doug starts talking about Spacecraft 3D… so first image is of another project. For full video of the MSL landing event see here.

Video streaming by Ustream

Download the app yourself, print out the target page and start exploring!

Maggie explores the Curiosity rover with 3D augmented reality!

For more about Mars Curiosity
On Twitter: Follow @MarsCuriosity and @NASAJPL
On Facebook:
Explore Mars Curiosity online

Typing Hebrew on a Mac

Chris Heard has put together two screencasts demonstrating how to setup and use your Mac to type in Hebrew. You might want to be sure you have the unicode SBL Hebrew font installed before you watch the videos. The font is available free for download here. Be sure to also download the keyboard driver and PDF manual. You don’t need to use the SBL Hebrew keyboard drivers, but Chris does demonstrate them in the screencast. Thanks, Chris, for a great resource!

Bible Software Shootout

I could not be at the SBL Bible Software Shootout session between Logos, SESB, BibleWorks, Accordance and Olive Tree but I did follow some of the SBLtweets. So I’m putting a roundup of the tweets from that session here. If you were there and have anything to add, please leave a comment, thanks!

UPDATE (for a full summary of the session go to the blog This Lamp):
Continue reading

Hebrew Font Issues

I am pretty good at getting my Hebrew fonts to play nice on my computer. I use Mellel for wordprocessing most of the time. Scrivener does a decent job handling the mix of R->L and L->R text that I create. I’ve come to accept (after a great deal of weeping and gnashing followed by much counseling) that unless I am willing to shell out hundreds and hundreds of dollars for the Middle East version of Adobe’s Creative Suite, I will have to use workarounds for Hebrew in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. Now, if someone wanted to send me a version of ME CS4 to review…

What I’m perplexed by is the sometimes funky way that Firefox (3.5.5) and OS X (10.6.1) render the SBL Hebrew font vowel pointing. I’ve got the font loaded on my computer. I’ve got my various preferences set correctly (at least I am pretty sure I do). Nevertheless, things like John Hobbins’ blog often do not look the way they should. Here’s a link to a recent post, and here’s what I’m seeing (this is a screen capture):

SBL Hebrew font sample

Last year, when I was first trying to track down the problem, I received this answer to my post on the Fontlab forum (remember, this was posted 5/2008, hence the references to Firefox 3 as beta):

This is a limitation of Firefox 2. The font rendering technology cannot deal with the font, and so it ignores the font (Microsoft Office does the same thing). Firefox 2 will almost assuredly never support fonts like SBL Hebrew. Firefox 3, of which there is a publicly available beta, does support the font, and it will display the page you linked in SBL Hebrew.
Like Safari, however, even Firefox 3 does not position the vowels and diacritics correctly. This has to do with the technologies that OS X uses to render text. The older technology, ATSUI, does not provide support for complex layouts of OpenType fonts like SBL Hebrew, so one is left with the garbled mess that you now see. There is however, a newer technology called Core Text that does the layouts correctly. You can see the advantages of this API, which does support OpenType layout tables, in TextEdit. If you paste (or type) Hebrew text with SBL Hebrew in it, the layout is generally correct. The major drawback of Core Text is that it is very new and only available in Leopard. As such, it will be quite some time before it is widely implemented. There is some discussion about implementing it in Firefox here , but I would guess it will be a while.

The frustrating thing is that Safari WILL display the font and pointing correctly, so it CAN be done! Even on my iPhone (which, to date, cannot handle SBL Hebrew), I can view John Hobbins’ post with vowel pointing correctly lining up.

What about it, Mac users? What are you experiencing? Will Firefox ever support fonts like SBL Hebrew correctly? What is your browser of choice?

PC users: can you see John’s Hebrew texts in SBL Hebrew with the vowels in correct alignment? What browser are you using?

My other source of frustration is was with WordPress. Not the online blog site, but the program itself. I use WordPress for my blog on a private server. Somewhere in the past I could type unicode for Hebrew and Greek and it would display just fine. Then, more recently, when I typed in Hebrew text, the Hebrew showed up fine in the “New Post” creation window, until I saved the draft or published it, then *POOF* the Hebrew would disappear and be replaced with question marks. Some of my commenters have experienced this problem too. I think I have finally found the solution!! I’m posting the instructions here for others who might be having trouble.
Andre Oboler suggested the following:

If your blog displays question marks instead of Hebrew characters, you may need to tweak WordPress a little bit.
In the root directory of your blog installation, there’s a file called wp-config.php.
Open it in a text editor and replace “define(‘DB_CHARSET’, ‘utf8’);” with “define(‘DB_CHARSET’, ”);”. That should do the trick.

And the proof…

‏שִׁיר לַמַּעֲלוֹת אֶשָּׂא עֵינַי אֶל־הֶהָרִים מֵאַיִן יָבֹא עֶזְרִי׃
עֶזְרִי מֵעִם יְהוָה עֹשֵׂה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ׃
אַל־יִתֵּן לַמּוֹט רַגְלֶךָ אַל־יָנוּם שֹׁמְרֶךָ׃
הִנֵּה לֹא־יָנוּם וְלֹא יִישָׁן שׁוֹמֵר יִשְׂרָאֵל׃
יְהוָה שֹׁמְרֶךָ יְהוָה צִלְּךָ עַל־יַד יְמִינֶךָ׃
יוֹמָם הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ לֹא־יַכֶּכָּה וְיָרֵחַ בַּלָּיְלָה׃
יְהוָה יִשְׁמָרְךָ מִכָּל־רָע יִשְׁמֹר אֶת־נַפְשֶׁךָ׃
יְהוָה יִשְׁמָר־צֵאתְךָ וּבוֹאֶךָ מֵעַתָּה וְעַד־עוֹלָם׃

So now, comments can include Hebrew, Greek, and other “complex” fonts that were previously being stripped out!

Snow Leopard 10.6.2 Is Out: Many Bug Fixes

Update for Snow Leopard: 10.6.2 is out! MacStories lists the full changelog:

The 10.6.2 Update is recommended for all users running Mac OS X Snow Leopard and includes general operating system fixes that enhance the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac, including fixes for:

  • an issue that might cause your system to logout unexpectedly;
  • a graphics distortion in Safari Top Sites;
  • Spotlight search results not showing Exchange contacts;
  • a problem that prevented authenticating as an administrative user;
  • issues when using NTFS and WebDAV file servers;
  • the reliability of menu extras;
  • an issue with the 4-finger swipe gesture;
  • an issue that causes Mail to quit unexpectedly when setting up an Exchange server;
  • Address Book becoming unresponsive when editing;
  • a problem adding images to contacts in Address Book;
  • an issue that prevented opening files downloaded from the Internet;
  • Safari plug-in reliability;
  • general reliability improvements for iWork, iLife, Aperture, Final Cut Studio, MobileMe, and iDisk;
  • an issue that caused data to be deleted when using a guest account.

Heard about the Accordance Training Seminar

Dr. Chris Heard (of Higgaion) reports on the Accordance training seminar that he attended this week at the Master’s Seminary: Session 1, Session 2, Session 3 and Session 4.

His comments about Session 3 just explain that they covered language searches (which he already knew how to do, so he didn’t take notes). But Session 1 has a few good tidbits and Session 2 talks about fuzzy searches. Session 4 focused on reference tools, the atlas, timeline, and user tools.

I especially like some of the keyboard shortcuts (highlighted in Session 1) that I didn’t know about (or had forgotten) and the very cool ability to…

point to a word in a tagged text and then press the Shift key, the content of the Instant Details window will “freeze” and a new icon on the Instant Details window will light up. Clicking on that icon copies that data to the system clipboard. If you point to a word in a tagged text and then press the [Command] key, the Instant Details box will display the full entry from the topmost relevant tool.

Check out all the parts of his summary. But don’t forget there are many support videos online at Accordance too. I talk about them here, on my post “Accordance 101.”

And in case you missed it, Higgaion has a podcast now. Be sure to listen and subscribe.


James McGrath just posted his thoughts on the difference between “Deuteronomistic” and “Deuteronomic” history (and explains why he prefers Deuteronomic History) at Exploring Our Matrix.

Well, when we were in seminary, my husband* and I (and a few of our friends, whose names I have kept anonymous for their own protection…unless they want to claim their brilliance in the comments below) had some late nights studying such material which yielded the following list. We hope you won’t find them too Deuteronomiculous.

Deuteronomania: an obsession with finding deuteronomical historical references.
Deuteronomonopoeia: all the references to “Babel” in the Old Testament
Deuteronomaly: a deuteronomomic reference that just shouldn’t be there
Deuteronomalicious: the attitude of opponents of the theory of deuteronomical history
Deuteronomono! What Saul yelled as he lept onto his own sword.
Deuterognome: little idol statues found on Israelite front lawns.
Deuterognostic: a pre-pre-pre-Christian cult; responsible for every lie in The Da Vinci Code.
Deuteronomocalifragilisticexpialidocious: If you say it loud enough, you might seem precocious!
Deuteronomalignant: that sick feeling you have the day after your OT exam when you realize you left the most obvious points about DH off your exam essay.
Deuteronomaniac: a DH geek.
Deuteronomesticated: the condition of a former Deuteronomaniac who has just lost interest, to the extent that he no longer sends daily emails to his friends with the subject line: “Those Crazy Redactors, Look What They’re Up to Now!”
Deuteronomolicious! That tasty sensation of being done forever with Old Testament History and theology!
Deuteronomasia: making up plays on words based on the word Deuteronomy
DeuteronoMiss: the female redactor of the DH, who is responsible for the intriguing stories, in Judges, of women who put men to shame (Jael/Sisera; Deborah/Barak; Abimelech/that lady with the millstone; Delilah/Samson, etc).
Deuteronomystical: the ecstatic, trancelike state that a person reaches after reading 2,000 pages of OT scholarship in two weeks as preparation for the final.
Deuteronomastication: what the neighbor’s dog did with my OT notes the day after the final.
Deuteronomerchant: someone who makes their living writing and selling books about the DtH.
Deuteronomercenary: the soldier who takes holy war just a little too far.
Deuteronomishizzolist:South side. Holla.
I always try to do unto others as I would have them Deuternomy
Deuteronymy (1) when both authors of a work assume fictitious names (e.g., the secret Gospel of Jannes and Jambres that David Brown has yet to get his hands on) (2) The figure of speech only found in semitic languages where the dual form of one noun stands for another noun associated with it (go figure).
Deuteroewy: accidently stepping in someone else’s business.
Deuteronomiserable: Trying to remember the difference between Deuteronomic and Deuteronomistic.
Deuteronomystery: Why couldn’t they have come up with a really different word for one or the other?
Deuteronautic: the lost laws of ship-building believed to be original to the book of Deutoronomy.
Deuteronauticalist: 2 Kings laws of ship-building which forbade off-shore sacrifices, laying the basis for the later theonomic application to sanctioning riverboat gamblers by execution.
Deuteronaughty: adjective describing one who has broken Deuteronomic law. e.g., “Israel was sent into exile because they had been very Deuteronaughty.”
DeuteronoMac: A brand of theology that used to be available in small, medium and large sizes; now you can only get it in large, Supersize, and Megasupersize (cf. OT reading list)
DeuteronoMac (alternate version): A version of the Deuteronomic Law not as widespread as DeuteronoWindows. It did seem to function better, however, across a wide variety of contextualizations. It was even able to sychronize with the IotaPod during the hellenized 2nd Temple period.
Deuteronomasochist – one who subjects himself to reading hundreds of pages of painful OT theology
Deuteronosadist – one who requires said theology for reading
Deuteronomonastic -someone who spends so much time studying DH that he might as well live in a cave somewhere
Deuteronomnemonic: a cognitive tool for memorizing obscure deutoronomic facts based on catchy word play

*Many thanks to my husband, Mark Traphagen, who blogs at The League of Inveterate Poets for letting me post this silliness here.

Accordance User Tools available (from D&T)

Hebrew and Greek Reader has two new Accordance User tools available that they generated (and are generously sharing):

We’ve created an Accordance user tool compiling many of John Hobbins‘ posts on biblical Hebrew and translations of various passages of the Hebrew Bible. We hope you find it useful. As of now, its only up through 2007. We’ll apprise you of updates. We’ve also created a user tool of some articles by Dan Wallace on textual criticism.

They are waiting for permission to upload the files to the Accordance Exchange (which, you should check out!!). But in the meantime, you can download them from the links on their blog. They have also given me permission to put them on my server for you to access:
Hobbins (1.4 MB uncompressed)
Hobbins (664 KB zipped)
Wallace (594 KB uncompressed)
Wallace (283 KB zipped)
(just right click on these links to save them to your hard-drive)

After downloading, open them in Accordance to use the tools. Updates will be made available (the Wallace file still needs some work).

Why bother buying GKC Module when it is free online?

Disclaimer: Except for the links to the free online GKC, the rest of this post assumes you own a Mac (don’t you?) and you are using Accordance.

Indeed, why bother? Isn’t it an old book in the public domain? Isn’t GKC available online?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I think it is wonderful to be able to access Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar for free online instead of having to buy a hard copy. You can read it in German here (online, or download as a PDF). You can access it in English here.

So, why pay Accordance for the GKC module (currently on sale until Oct 11th for $55)?

Quite simply, these features (as described on the Accordance website):

  • quick lookup via the familiar section-letter reference scheme (e.g. 75h), and additionally permits searches for scripture references, Hebrew and Greek content, and even transliteration,
  • useful typographical features: the type size distinction between primary and secondary discussion has been preserved, scripture references have been reformatted (e.g. Ec I17 becomes Ec 1:17), and the occasional Arabic or Syriac script citations have been transliterated,
  • scans of numerous passages whose accuracy depends on exact reproduction of the typeset page: for example, occurrences of Babylonian punctuation (the footnote to § 8g), the table of vowel classes (§ 9t), and the verbal paradigms (A–Q),
  • the useful Table of Alphabets script chart and facsimile of the Siloam Inscription, carefully scanned,
  • the Index of Subjects, with corrections, and
  • support for highlighting

To start with, the Accordance version is magnificently readable. It is not just a page scan (like the online versions).
GKC Accordance Screen capture

GKC Accordance Screen capture

You can easily copy and paste information for quotes.

But for me, the most useful aspect is being able to (accurately and completely) search for English Titles, Hebrew Titles, English Content, Scripture, Hebrew Content, Greek Content or Transliteration. The online English version does allow some limited English word search capability (Hebrew does not work), but nothing like what can be done within Accordance.

Also, by hovering over the Accordance GKC module hyperlinks, the linked material can be displayed in the Instant Details window. So, you don’t need to navigate to another section in the book or to another text in order to read a section reference or a scripture example.

Finally, as with all my Accordance modules, I have my library with me wherever I go (even when I am not online). I love books (I have too many of them), but digital reference tools like the GKC Module in Accordance are prime examples of technology put to very good use.