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Using technology to God’s glory

When It Works, It Works

On my travels last week four technological items (and one program) worked so flawlessly, so perfectly, that I thought I should mention them. Instead of complaints, time to give some kudos to items and programs that actually do what they are supposed to do, and do it well.
   
First, the Palm Tungsten T5. I read my opening statement on it. I used it as my Bible. I used it as my Greek text (at one point checking a claim by Dr. Crossan and finding him in error on the term used, though, of course, he wasn’t looking at the text himself). I used a great program on it to store quotes and my cross-examination questions, a program that is easy to use and is simply perfect for storing data in a form that you can access quickly and easily. It is called Note Studio. It isn’t cheap. But it works, and works well. Best organization/note card program I’ve ever encountered. Highly recommended.
   
Now, let me warn you about something…if you have used the earlier Tungsten Palm devices (Tungsten, T3), and liked, as I did, the aluminum hard case Palm sells (I noted Tom Ascol had a T3 with a hard case with him on the cruise), whatever you do, do not get the T5 hard case. It is worthless. Talk about missing the point! The earlier hard case made sense: it was easy to get the unit in and out of it; you could turn it on, beam with it, plug in a headphone jack, etc., all while it was still in the case. But the genius who designed the new hard case for the T5 obviously has never actually used the T5, or any other Palm device. Getting the unit in and out of the new case is a chore, but more importantly, once it is in the case, you cannot beam; you cannot plug anything in; you cannot even get the stylus out or even turn it on and off without having to try to pull the device up and out of the portion it lies in (which isn’t easy either). A complete example of how to take a good idea and make it stupid in one fell swoop. Thankfully, Vaja makes a gorgeous case for the T5 that is functional and oh so wonderful (especially if you love the smell of Argentinian leather).
   
Next, I have had the Dell Inspiron 8600 for about a year now. Aside from the touch pad, which simply does not like my attempts at double tapping, this laptop is the best I’ve ever owned (and I’ve owned quite a few). Bullet proof. Gorgeous display, excellent battery life, accessories work well…it just does what it is supposed to do. Dell gets blasted a lot, but I have never had a problem at all, and this one has proven a real workhorse, traveling all over the US, England, Scotland, and Italy, without a single problem.
   
Next, I love my digital camera. It is the Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W1 5.1 Mega Pixel unit (looks like mine is gone, but this is the current version). Again, it simply works, and what I love about it is that it has a very large screen that actually allows you to see the picture you have just taken with some meaningful level of resolution. Again, a unit that does what it claims to do. The gorgeous Alaska pictures I’ve posted came from that camera. A great investment.
   
Finally, one more piece of technology I took with me that I can very, very highly recommend: the Canon iP90 portable printer. We bought this little unit for me when I was in St. Louis back in February. It is very portable (fits in one of my Oakley backpacks along with our digital projector with room to spare), produces gorgeous, high-quality documents, even after being lugged around and shoved under airplane seats and run through security-point screening machines, and rolling down the rollers and running into other luggage—you get the idea—and that on the first sheet of paper. This crazy little unit also prints color, vibrant, high-quality color pictures, at like 1400 dpi or something along those lines. And it communicates with my laptop via the infrared port (i.e., I don’t have to carry yet another proprietary USB cable around). Talk about a blessing in a hotel room, where I can print out my boarding pass for the early, early flight in the morning, or a copy of my sermon notes or debate notes (always good to have a back up should my Palm take a dive). I have been tremendously pleased with the quality of this printer, and couldn’t recommend it more highly.
   
So, there’s your tech fix for the…month, or something. 🙂

Louw & Nida Available for Palm OS from OliveTree

With the availability of huge, 1-gig and above SD cards for Palm devices now, it is great to see resources like this coming on line. Louw & Nida’s Greek lexicon based upon semantic domains is now available for Palm from OliveTree (they also make available the Gramcord Greek NT). As I traveled in England/Scotland, and as I look forward to a trip to Italy in a few weeks, I find my Palm T3 an invaluable resource. I used it as my preaching text more than once, and it is so much easier to study from it while on a train or a plane than it is to try to dig out the laptop. Now, of course, my laptop has a full Libronics library on it, etc., and the Palm devices are not quite ready for that huge amount of data, but believe me, as one who started with a painfully slow, green-screen Palm device with a whopping 2 megs of total memory, having the Greek text, Gramcord, Louw-Nida, and all the rest I have on my T3 is a tremendous blessing. Geeks unite and check it out.

For the Palm Geeks Out There

So you all know I use a Palm Tungsten T3. I carry Bible translations, Greek and Hebrew texts, the text for almost all of my books, and lots and lots of resources in .pdf and Repligo formats. I use it as my calendar, my weather station, and yes, I have some really cool games just in case I am stuck at the airport and just can’t force myself to read or write anymore.

Now, if you, like me, enjoy tweaking the looks of your interface on your computer (I use the Object Desktop suite of programs, mainly using WindowBlinds to alter the look of my computer a few times each week), you may have wished you could do the same with your Palm. Well, you can. I have used SilverScreen as my program of choice on that level since back on my original Tungsten T. I have the ability to create my own skins, and have made three, grand total, but that is a long process, and I generally do not have that kind of time (let alone that kind of skill). So I’ve looked around at skins and themes that are available, and the absolute best I’ve found, bar none, are found at Designs by Darcy. That is especially true if you like lots of color (and, given my fractal nature, that’s a given). The screen-shot to the right, for example, is the current theme I have on my T3 (as of today anyway). So if you’ve been looking to spice up the boring interface provided by Palm, here’s a neat way to do it. Enjoy!