An Open Letter to Bob Pritchett

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 14 2010 8:02 AM

Dan DeVilder:

Part of me would like to learn to be more proficient using alt+tab (I use it a bit, but it is not second nature to figure how to make it efficient) and other features.  And I guess I am not really opposed to using outside software.  I just don't think it is very easy.

Using multiple applications at once and copying/sharing data between them is one of the main advantages of a multi-tasking operating system like Windows. Alt+Tab functionality for switching between them has been improved in Vista (and Windows 7) over XP. In XP you used to have to hold down the Alt key and hit Tab several times to get to the application you were trying to switch to, and depending on how recently that other app had been on top, it could take quite a number of keystrokes to get back there. But as of Vista, you can now do Alt+Tab and then holding down the Alt key, click on the icon of the application you want to go back to and return there immediately. Of course you've always been able to jump direction to an application by clicking its icon in the taskbar down at the bottom of the screen, but sometimes (when you have lots of apps open at once) that taskbar gets full and the names of the apps are truncated, but with Alt+Tab you get to see the full name of each app (and the name of the document it has open if it's a document-based app) as you tab to it.

Posts 1228
Ron | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 14 2010 10:27 AM

JamesHudson:
(only 15 tabs in Firefox? Is that all!!!!)

That's 10-15 tabs x 5 windows...so somewhere between 50 and 75 tabs total Stick out tongue

Posts 8967
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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 14 2010 11:12 AM

Paul Golder:
In the rapidly changing world of software, there is more than a good chance that within the next year or so, someone is going to come up with a new Bible program that everyone in the geek world has to have.

Being somewhat of a geek myself, I own 90%+ of Bible software published in English  (Mac, PC.) Geeks buy stuff just for the sake of buying stuff. The true custopmer base that will keep driving Logos development are the users who really USE the software to it's limits. So if notes, PBBs and printing are things that segment desires, it will eventually be added. The "bells & whistles" geeks will just find another program to brew their coffee for them.

Paul Golder:

Is it a good investment of resources in developing features for 10% (or less) of the users base, that does 80% (or more) of the online talking about the software?

Huh?? Huh? I don't know. Does that 10% have orders placed for 80% of the Pre-Pub page?

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Posts 1674
Paul Golder | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 14 2010 12:44 PM

Matthew C Jones:
geeks will just find another program to brew their coffee for them.

Matthew C Jones:
Huh?? Huh? I don't know. Does that 10% have orders placed for 80% of the Pre-Pub page?


I would guess yes. I'm thinking that if the bulk of the Logos user base were ordering Pre-Pubs, there would be a majority listed as "under development" instead of "Gathering Interest"

I'm only saying that the most vocal portion of the user base should be constantly kept in mind when deciding what features to add or not.

After all the first place the "non-geek" world looks to, when making a technology purchase, is what all the geeks are saying / using.

I can't even remember all the times someone has asked my the best way to "brew their coffee" so-to-speak...Smile

"As any translator will attest, a literal translation is no translation at all."

Posts 2813
Kevin A. Purcell | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 14 2010 2:06 PM

While I am right that no other Bible study application does what the original poster wants, there is one that comes very close. Logos may want to remove this, but it is Bibleworks. However, that program is so inferior in the area of library. It is not a library tool but a very advanced tool for studying the Bible's original languages and for doing exegetical study. It has one commentary that I can think of, Matthew Henry, which is of limited value to me. I use Logos for most study and Bibleworks for keeping notes and most searching of the Bible itself. I keep notes in Bibleworks because it has the best notes feature. They are simple, fast, and can do a lot if you want all of that. Logos does one thing BW does not. Bible references are automatically hyperlinks. If Logos was as fast as BW notes, and had as much formatting options as BW, it would be the most useful for all stages of Bible study.

Posts 116
Brooks Cochran | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 14 2010 2:20 PM

AMEN!!!!!!!

Posts 2753
DominicM | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 14 2010 3:18 PM

Kevin A. Purcell:
While I am right that no other Bible study application does what the original poster wants, there is one that comes very close

Sorry to thow a spanner in, but theres at least two..

this is a screen shot from another one.. but I will stick to rules and not name it here, but its one of the free ones..  

 

Never Deprive Anyone of Hope.. It Might Be ALL They Have

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 14 2010 3:20 PM

Paul Golder:
Is it a good investment of resources in developing features for 10% (or less) of the users base, that does 80% (or more) of the online talking about the software?

What I don't know is, for example, the percentage of users who used print or parallel resources or ... The question, in my mind, is not "what percentage use this" but "how dependent are other features on this feature for common workflow"

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 14 2010 3:26 PM

Rosie Perera:
Using multiple applications at once and copying/sharing data between them is one of the main advantages of a multi-tasking operating system like Windows.

True, but the issue is functionality and work-flow. There are functions that you expect to switch applications for, there are functions that one expects to be supported within the application. Loosing features present in L3 goes against expectations; the added search capabilities increase expectations that one can create (or copy & paste) what the search now supports.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 271
Don | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 14 2010 4:08 PM
Loosing = to unbind or release, etc.

Losing = misplacing or not being able to find something.

Sorry, but this error has popped up in the forums several times now.
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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 14 2010 4:19 PM

Yup, I recognize spelling errors when I hand write them but everything looks great once it's typed - no matter how ridiculous.Embarrassed

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 1717
LogosEmployee
Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 14 2010 4:36 PM

I feel bad about notes performance, and we're trying to address that and add some functionality.

But I'm still reluctant to take on everything you ask for, because, as you all know by now, I don't want to write a word processor.

To the best of my knowledge, no competitor does everything you're asking for. The ones that even come close use a third-party component.

I'm guessing they use the TX Text Control, which we first evaluated (and decided not to use) in 1992. It's essentially an embeddable version of a small Microsoft Word clone, but I don't believe there's any equivalent on any other platform. (Windows only.) And it isn't available for WPF. (And WPF applications are not interoperable with non WPF components. Well, technically they are, but only with constraints we couldn't live with. I just read, though that they're working on a WPF version, which might be available this summer.)

You can check it out at: http://www.textcontrol.com

The other alternative is: http://wpftexteditor.com

(Note that TX Text Control is faster because it's NOT WPF yet, but it may have to slow down a bit when it is. WPFTextEditor.com is WPF now, and a good example of what's possible speed-wise, I believe. If you visit the site in IE you can even try it live.)

A key thing to note about both of these solutions is that while they're components, they seem to be geared towards creating separate documents. It would take more work to integrate them "note by note" instead of as a letter-size page editor. And neither is available for the Mac.

Among our concerns:

Cross platform support: We need something that will perform exactly the same on Windows and Mac. I don't know of any truly rich editing component that does; conceivably RTF or HTML allows for that, but the RTF in Word and WordPerfect causes us lots of headaches, and is incompatible in subtle and frustrating ways. I can't imagine it'll be better between Windows and Mac. And I imagine that our dual platform users would be upset to lose of have formatting messed up when they work on two different systems.

Hebrew support: Last time we looked at this, none of the third-party components were Hebrew aware. Even if we build "typing helpers", we need an editing component that wraps Hebrew text correctly.

Mobile and web delivery: We plan to deliver your notes to the iPhone, mobile web browsers, and over the web (on IE, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, etc.). There aren't many text formats that truly render the same on all those platforms. And there is no table and image aware editing component on the iPhone, and I don't want to write one. We can barely (we hope!) let you edit text on the iPhone and preserve adjacent simple formatting; I shudder to think of what it would look like to try to edit a note full of tables and images on a phone.

File size (with sync): If you take a screen capture of a modern, 32-bit color wide screen display, you get...well, a really big image. Paste that into notes, and you're using lots of storage, which we're then syncing over the Internet. And then to an iPhone. Do we shrink it? What if you edit the note on the version that has the shrunken image. Do we have to parse the note, realize that the image wasn't edited, but store the new text and keep the old large image? Etc. etc. etc.

Expectations: You want tables. Can you edit the column width? Row height? Merge adjacent rows and columns? Paste plain text with tabs or commas and "split into columns"? Is all your table editing in dialog boxes, or do you expect to drag column and row splitters? When we print can we break pages on row boundaries? What about rows taller than the page? Images. You paste them. Can you resize them? Crop them? Do we store the original, or store the shrunken version? Can you adjust the color? Make the white area transparent? Wrap text around the image? Send an image behind text?

Third-party controls: We've been bitten many times by using third-party controls, whether for our toolbar management or IE for report rendering. We're scared of having something as important as your notes managed through code we don't control. (Not an obstacle, just a concern.)

 

All of these problems are solvable. Companies that write word processors (or word processor components) have solved them. But they have teams of many programmers working for many years. It just doesn't seem like a good investment of our resources, or a good utilization of our skills.

I don't want to ignore my customers, or blow off your concerns. But I just don't think we can afford to do this.

Are there any compromise solutions? Could we index your Word documents from a particular directory and return them as part of search results? Write a feature that inserts a note header into a Word document, and another that sorts and organizes the Word document through scripting?

Or should we offer a "at your own risk" solution where we embed an off the shelf RTF editing component just on the Windows (and maybe Mac) platform and then give you lower-fidelity views of your content on the iPhone, web, etc. and make it your responsibility to not edit your complicated table-filled note on the iPhone, thereby wiping out the complicated formatting? (This is the most likely scenario to me -- I just don't like it because I want to offer the same features as much as possible on each platform, and this won't allow it. It also takes much of the UI control away from us, and creates a separate "editor look" and UI inside the app. But it takes all the responsibility for the editing and puts it on another company, and gives you their years of work without us having to reproduce it.)

 

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 14 2010 5:00 PM

Bob Pritchett:
Are there any compromise solutions?

I think there are if we step outside the box of "notes". For example, if tables, chiasms and outlines were supported within the Sentence Diagrammer and the diagrams were text searchable, I could work with it. If media files could be organized in Favorites and links to open them in the appropriate software could be embedded in Notes (the note would contain the searchable text). I could create a reasonable work flow and presentation flow. This approach is a little extra work on my part but should at least sidestep the technical issues you raise. I would not expect all the functions of word processor tables and outlines - just some basics.

This leaves for me one issue. Graphic organizers / study templates would be the only remaining problem but the PBB's or sermons might be able to handle these.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Friedrich | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 14 2010 5:37 PM

Don:
Loosing = to unbind or release, etc.

Losing = misplacing or not being able to find something.

Sorry, but this error has popped up in the forums several times now.

did your mom make you look things up in the dictionary, too?   Stick out tongue

I like Apples.  Especially Honeycrisp.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 14 2010 5:42 PM

Dan DeVilder:
did your mom make you look things up in the dictionary, too? 

We always had dictionary, atlas and encyclopedia within reach of the dinner table. Didn't everyone?

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 5337
Kevin Becker | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 14 2010 5:49 PM

Bob Pritchett:
Are there any compromise solutions? Could we index your Word documents from a particular directory and return them as part of search results? Write a feature that inserts a note header into a Word document, and another that sorts and organizes the Word document through scripting?

I like these ideas.

I would hope that any indexing would go beyond simply using Word files. You've probably noticed it, but I made a similar suggestion (regarding indexing) here: http://community.logos.com/forums/t/12865.aspx.  The discussion was interesting and echoes many of the points made in this thread.

I appreciate the detail in which you address your customers. Please keep focusing on making Logos the best at what it does. I am glad to use other programs to complement Logos 4 in areas like notes.

Posts 3163
Dominick Sela | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 14 2010 6:11 PM

Thanks Bob for your reply, it did a great job of sharing the complexity of the issues.

I had one point to throw in - I sure hope care is taken when looking for solutions that support all platforms - PC/desktop, Mac/desktop, mobile, etc.  If this is done to excess, it becomes a least common denominator solution that is not good anywhere.

The reality is there are HUGE differences in functionality between the platforms, especially when you throw the cloud in because it's a platform too, from the perspective it influences design decisions.  As an example, to think for even the next 5 years that anyone is doing extensive editing on a phone is unrealistic IMHO. 

But integrity of data is critical. So maybe certain editing features are turned off on the mobile devices, so to allow viewing but not corrupt data originating from the desktop?  What's the paradigm of mobile device usage with Logos, is it sitting on a train reading/browsing on the phone, or doing a thesis at a library using Logos on a phone?  The latter won't work for a very very long time.

I mention this only because as I read your response, I saw images of a product that one day is grossly limited on the desktop because it has to support syncing to the cloud for people with 100KB speeds up to 100MB speeds, and being used on a mobile device that has 1/100th the capability of a networked desktop computer.  A scary thought indeed, and if that happens Logos will no longer be the premier software for the high end user, and the justification of the fairly high cost of resources will no longer exist.

Posts 270
Stein Dahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 14 2010 6:14 PM

Okay, I'll chime in too.

I for one would very much like to have a robust NOTES feature in L4.  But one problem I'm seeing here, is that "robust" means different things to different people. 

It seems to me that many want some kind of multimedia capable, word processing wonder that can just about write a sermon by itself, and create a presentation for that sermon (also by itself) - and do it within L4's Notes feature.  That seems to be some peoples definition of robust.

Me, on the other hand, I just want to be able to do (in L4 Notes) what I can do in the Notes feature in Logos 3 - plus maybe be able to add pictures and web links that work.

I have a lot of notes in L3 that are for sermons and Bible studies, and they're linked to the passages or verses that they pertain to. 

  • They are text based
  • They are for the purpose of gathering my research information (i.e.; text) 
  • They are searchable 
  • They are printable
  • They can be easily backed up and easily shared with other Logos users 
  • They are therefore, very useful to me

That's basically all I really need in a "robust" Notes feature.  If I want to do more in the way of formatting my "notes", I will export them to Word and make the changes I want to make.

That's my 2 cents worth.

Posts 2753
DominicM | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 14 2010 6:26 PM

Bob Pritchett:
I feel bad about notes performance, and we're trying to address that and add some functionality.  But I'm still reluctant to take on everything you ask for, because, as you all know by now, I don't want to write a word processor.

Yes I see those steps already  filtering through on the beta, and actually  agree with you about the whole WP thing

 

Bob Pritchett:
To the best of my knowledge, no competitor does everything you're asking for. The ones that even come close use a third-party component....  .... We've been bitten many times by using third-party controls, whether for our toolbar management or IE for report rendering. We're scared of having something as important as your notes managed through code we don't control.

Yes me too, I agree with the logic of not using components that you havent got source code for, it is risky, and agree with your decision not to

Bob Pritchett:
conceivably RTF or HTML

As you know, from our previous discussions over the years, I have always favored the HTML route, as not only is it a universal standard, its cross-platform/browser too... and being user customisable,takes most of the weight of these expectation issues and puts it back into the hands of the power user who wants to tweak stuff, as well as the simple note taking for the nonpower users

Responsibilty for any linked files would be up to the user to copy to additional machines/store remotely, I would not expect Logos to store any pictures/music/or other files on its server, just notes. 

Bob Pritchett:
Mobile and web delivery

I agree this is a case for basic notes only, if there was a flag to say this was a mobile type note file, any enhanced formatting menus in main program could be hidden, and the note saved free of any formatting for easy compatability (only mobile notes then get syned to mobile.logos.com or iphone) none of others.

Bob Pritchett:
All of these problems are solvable...  I don't want to ignore my customers, or blow off your concerns. But I just don't think we can afford to do this.

I agree concentrate where your skills lie, and don't get sidetracked onto issues/areas where you not eduipped, there are other areas that we need before a Word Processor..

Bob Pritchett:
Are there any compromise solutions? Could we index your Word documents from a particular directory and return them as part of search results? Write a feature that inserts a note header into a Word document, and another that sorts and organizes the Word document through scripting?

I beliive PBB will fix most if not all of my issues, the whole external files thing IMO is a nightmare waiting to happen for you. You run into reindexing, how often.. issues. and which formats, word/pdf/html/txt/works not only which program but also which version, etc, where does it stop?

Bob, I will be praying for you, for wisdom to know when/where/what to implement, as I said in an earlier post, I see the leap forward that has already been made with notes, and I thank you for responding

Never Deprive Anyone of Hope.. It Might Be ALL They Have

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Friedrich | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 14 2010 6:42 PM

Wow.  Thanks again, Bob.  And a note to the Wiki-keepers: ever thought about collating Bob's responses on these issues and archiving them?

I appreciate the complexity of the problem/obstacles.  It is always nice to have them defined.

One thing I am not sure you addressed, Bob, is expansion of the ability to send info into other, non-Logos, software.  I am pretty content to take most of my notes in Logos--especially initial note-taking.  But there are times when I want those notes in other programs, for building sermons, research that is more manipulatable, (holy cow, how does one SPELL that word?  anybody got a dictionary?).  I am among several (relatively speaking) here who are using OneNote and mindmapping software (I use MindManager).  I suppose it could be nuts writing a copy and paste feature for every conceivable software people use.  But . . . could more be added?  I don't know what goes into making such a feature possible.  All i know is, that I LOVE CBV feature for Word and Powerpoint. So slick.  If that feature could be expanded to what some consider industry leading software and applications like OneNote and MindManager, software that has proven helpful to Logos uses, making our study results more rich and powerful, even enhancing Logos, because presentation and teaching results would be that much better---that would seem like a good thing for both Logos and its customer base.

Just a thought I keep having.  Like I said, I don't know what goes into that kind of stuff.  I just know I see some of its potential, based on what Logos has done already, and wondered how far it could be taken.  (something similar for "regular" books would be nice too (e.g., building a sermon with a mind map, wanting to insert an illustration into the map).  Mindmaps may be more complex to deal with , I dunno.  But that seems like a way to use the basic structure of notes and clippings that Logos has now, yet makes it easier to do more stuff "outside of" Logos.

Is it hard to add copy/paste features to other non-Logos programs?  I really don't know.

 

Anyway, in spite of my own wishes and "worries" that I have mentioned, I really really like Logos, and am soooo glad I don't have to lug around my boxes of books to study different places (and ALWAYS forgetting "that one" book!).

 

I like Apples.  Especially Honeycrisp.

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