Unseen Realm by Michael Heiser: Logos versus Kindle

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PetahChristian | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 31 2018 8:16 AM

J. Remington Bowling:
Once the cost of paying Jimmy to tag AYBD has been covered, it's all profit from that point forward. He doesn't have to retag the resource each year.

Not every year, but resources tagged years ago can get updated due to new or improved tags. Another case would be adding links to other resources that hadn't been in Logos when the tagging was previously done.

J. Remington Bowling:
In some other digital mediums, we see high prices for new releases that then drop over time for the reasons mentioned.

I can't find the post, but Faithlife did lower prices this year for a number of resources.

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PetahChristian | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 31 2018 8:28 AM

J. Remington Bowling:
If Amazon ever decides to start tagging Kindle resources Faithlife would be in serious trouble.

It doesn't seem likely that Amazon would offer something like Hebrew or Greek morphological tagging.

Besides, the diverse types of tagging only work because of the software features, and I don't see Amazon getting into the Bible study software market.

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J. Remington Bowling | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 31 2018 8:32 AM

Thanks for the input.

PetahChristian:
Another case would be adding links to other resources that hadn't been in Logos when the tagging was previously done.
.

I don't want to get into too much of a back-and-forth here as if I'm trying to prove Faithlife is jipping us on the cost of tagging. But adding new resources would just involve adding one resource to the database that the algorithm draws from and then rebuilding the library. More processing power rather than man-power. As a non-programmer, I'm sure my description of that is slightly off. 

I'm really just trying to dispel the notion that Faithlife has some sweatshop of workers combing through each resource word-by-word looking for words or phrases to tag. That's clearly not how it works for Bible references and there is no reason it can't be done with non-Bible references and they are likely already doing so to some degree or working on doing so.

PetahChristian:
It doesn't seem likely that Amazon would offer something like Hebrew or Greek morphological tagging.

Besides, the diverse types of tagging only work because of the software features, and I don't see Amazon getting into the Bible study software market.

Tagging related specifically to original language Bible research, sure. I agree. But Logos is a lot more than that (or they were trying to be with Noet) and the immediate point of reference was Michael Heiser's Unseen Realm.

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Stephen Ekeroth | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 31 2018 11:06 AM

Thank you to everyone for your insights and explanations. I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet, but since I only have a passing curiosity in the book at this point, I am more likely to spend the $3 at Amazon as opposed to the $25. If the book were to prove extremely valuable it is likely that at some point I would purchase the Logos edition. Logos software is invaluable to me (I've been a customer since the 90s starting with version 1.0 on floppy disks and I have over 5500 books and resources), but I also need to be a steward of the financial resources that have been entrusted to me.

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Jan Krohn | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 31 2018 2:47 PM

The occasional purchase of ebooks or other items on Amazon really is not the issue. (I still do the same despite my dispute with them.)

Some of the problems with Amazon include them owning more than a third of all global internet hardware (including, as far as I know the FL servers), access to "bugs" in millions of American (and global) homes, tax evasion strategies, unethical treatment of employees, systematic destruction of competitors, sometimes by selling stuff under price, just so that people become even more dependent, and of course the strict control they exercise over independent publishers, app developers, sellers and other contractors.

Good stewardship, for me, includes a good choice on who gets the larger chunks of my money. And of course the most affordable prices can be achieved only by less ethical business practices. That's not restricted to Amazon, but includes companies that have clothes produced under unethical working conditions in SE Asia, food grown on plantations that once belonged to local farmers, and were taken from them through illegal land grabs, have phones assembled in factories where workers frequently commit suicide because of the working conditions etc. Sadly, in most cases it's almost impossible to buy stuff that's been produced 100% ethically, or even to know where exactly it's coming from.

In short, others pay the price, so that we have the luxury of such affordable prices for many goods.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 31 2018 5:11 PM

Jan Krohn:
Some of the problems with Amazon include them owning more than a third of all global internet hardware (including, as far as I know the FL servers)

I've not seen this figure before and my first attempt to verify it obviously went astray as I was looking at backbone, exchange points etc. Could you point me to a confirming site? Thanks. I'm especially interested as my nephew works for a competing networking firm. Or did you mean AWS has about a third of the cloud market? 

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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Jan Krohn | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 1 2019 3:01 AM

MJ. Smith:

Jan Krohn:
Some of the problems with Amazon include them owning more than a third of all global internet hardware (including, as far as I know the FL servers)

I've not seen this figure before and my first attempt to verify it obviously went astray as I was looking at backbone, exchange points etc. Could you point me to a confirming site? Thanks. I'm especially interested as my nephew works for a competing networking firm. Or did you mean AWS has about a third of the cloud market? 

Well, AWS is Amazon ("Amazon Web Services"). How much data do they share with Amazon.com Inc.? Impossible to say. It's certainly within the realm of possibilities that Amazon uses data from AWS for profiling. I've been trying to get insight into my own profile and PII through a GDPR request, but am being persistently ignored by them...

I'm not aware of Amazon operating any backbone infrastructure etc. but that'd be neither nearly as profitable as cloud services and hosting, nor, as far as I'm aware, aid them much with data collection.

As for 33% market share of cloud services, look here:

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/27/microsoft-gains-cloud-market-share-in-q1-but-aws-still-dominates.html

Remember the AWS outage a few years ago? The sheer amount of services that went down should give a general idea of how much AWS/Amazon actually controls. It's just too much power in the hands of a single company.

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Thaddeus Billman | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 1 2019 11:59 AM

Jan Krohn:

I'm frequently disappointed about Logos pricing, but I must say, I'm much happier spending $25 with Logos than spending $3 with Amazon, as these $25 will mostly go into the pockets of happy employees, compared to the $3 going mostly into the pocket of a stingy billionaire. Of course not everyone can afford doing that, so I'm not condemning anyone who buys from Amazon.

Amazon's maximum cut on eBooks is 30%, the rest goes to the publisher.  Amazon's profit margin (which actually doesn't go into anyone's pocket directly, let alone exclusively a "greedy billionaire") is far lower than Faithlife's based on public information and comments made here by Bob. 

Also, Faithlife (through Lexham) chose to temporarily price it at $3 at Amazon while sticking their loyal customers with full price here.  To me, that is a slap in the face.  I'm not saying the Logos edition should be the same price, but when Faithlife choose to discount a book by $10 on Kindle a $10 discount from the (higher) Logos price would be nice.

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 1 2019 12:57 PM

Thaddeus Billman:
when Faithlife choose to discount a book by $10 on Kindle a $10 discount from the (higher) Logos price would be nice.

Yes

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 1 2019 2:52 PM

Jan Krohn:
Well, AWS is Amazon ("Amazon Web Services"). How much data do they share with Amazon.com Inc.? Impossible to say. It's certainly within the realm of possibilities that Amazon uses data from AWS for profiling. I've been trying to get insight into my own profile and PII through a GDPR request, but am being persistently ignored by them...

Thanks for clarifying that you meant "cloud" not "internet" which makes your statement make sense. When one is surrounded by people making a career in them, one doesn't assume that is what was meant.

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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Bill Anderson | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 1 2019 3:14 PM

J. Remington Bowling:

I'm really just trying to dispel the notion that Faithlife has some sweatshop of workers combing through each resource word-by-word looking for words or phrases to tag. That's clearly not how it works for Bible references and there is no reason it can't be done with non-Bible references and they are likely already doing so to some degree or working on doing so.

I don't know whether or not Faithlife has employees who manually tag Bible verses, but I can tell you from creating a number of personal books that some of the authors I focused on (one was E.W. Hengstenberg) didn't always follow a set convention for citing Scripture verses. Yes, the algorithm would pick up the easy references (John 3:16; Jn. 3:16, etc.) but the algorithm would totally miss a reference citation such as "verse 16 of chapter 3 of John's gospel" for example. Those types of citations had to be manually tagged, or at least they required manual tagging when I was doing those works a few years ago.

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PetahChristian | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 1 2019 5:49 PM

As Bill mentioned, parsing Bible references isn't as easy as it seems.

  • Would "is 1" be a Bible reference?
  • Does "John 1, 3" refer to chapters 1 and 3, or chapter 1, verse 3?
  • Does "Jn 11-2" refer to chapters 11 to 12, or chapter 11, verse 2?

No algorithm is going to get it right 100% of the time, and even if people are involved, mistakes do slip through the cracks and some resources need to be updated after going live.

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J. Remington Bowling | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 1 2019 6:27 PM

I wouldn't be surprised if Logos had a more powerful algorithm than the one used for PBB. For instance, suppose you had "John 1 and 2" the PBB algorithm will catch John 1, but not 2. But it really wouldn't be too hard to have an algorithm that caught 2 by a rule that looked back so many characters for another reference. 

But the fact that I have found wrongly tagged Bible references kind of proves the point that they are using an algorithm and even the quality control they are already doing isn't perfect. 

No, the algorithm isn't perfect. I didn't say it was. Yes, they need humans to do quality control and some things that are currently too complicated for an algorithm or AI type of software.

My point didn't depend on that. My point was never "Faithlife doesn't even use humans to do tagging!"

My point was Logos clearly relies upon an algorithm for some of their tagging. And it's only natural that Faithlife will continue to try and automate this process. 

My point was Michael Heiser's book on Faithlife doesn't cost $25 because they paid some guy to go through, word by word, and tag every Bible reference. At most, they had someone (or a few) go through and see if any potential tags were missed.

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 1 2019 6:44 PM

Thaddeus Billman:
Amazon's profit margin (which actually doesn't go into anyone's pocket directly, let alone exclusively a "greedy billionaire")

Oh, come on...I doubt Bezos was even a millionaire when he started Amazon (he took a $250,000 loan from his parents to get the company going). These things change with economic vicissitudes, but Bezos was recently listed as the richest person on the planet. Obviously, PLENTY of profit is ending up in his pockets. Whether he's greedy depends on perspective; I'm familiar with some controversies that could be described as anti-competitive or hostile. Their work place practices have been condemned (although they may have improved). Let's be clear: Bezos is making BANK.

Thaddeus Billman:
is far lower than Faithlife's based on public information and comments made here by Bob.

Yeah...because VOLUME. When you're big enough to tell the USPS how to run their ops, you've got crazy influence. Amazon surfs the Walmart effect. They've got over 100 million Prime users. Multiply that by razor thin margins and you got the largest internet company in the world run by the richest guy in the world. Besides all that, AWS is a cash cow, generating absurd margins. PROFITS GALORE!!!

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J. Remington Bowling | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 2 2019 8:05 AM

It's funny that a few days ago many Logos users were coming to the defense of Faithlife as a for profit business that may not give to charity--because the occasional sales and the amazing product were their own sort of sufficient charity. 

But when it comes to Amazon, the logic changes to evil Jeff Bezos! nope.

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 2 2019 12:01 PM

You make too many assumptions as if all forum members were the same, or have the same motivations. As it turns out, one forum member who is very vocal against Amazon was wronged by them (interesting read if you have the time & inclination). 

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Stephen Ekeroth | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 2 2019 12:43 PM

It is amazing how many different directions this thread went, but tagging and other enhanced features aside, not to mention the ethics of a huge conglomerate/monopoly like Amazon, I am still left to ponder $3 for a book vs. versus $25. I wonder how much the Amazon channel impacts Logos sales or if by matching Amazon prices for a non-enhanced version of the book, would FaithLife revenue be impacted. Decisions, decisions.

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Jan Krohn | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 2 2019 1:18 PM

Well, it's still an assumption that the price of $3 was set by Lexham. It could well be the case, but it's even likely to have been dictated by Amazon.

If the latter is the case, should Amazon's dictation have an impact on the Logos price of the book?

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Robert Neely | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 2 2019 2:39 PM

Stephen, hope you already got your kindle book because the price went back up to $5.99.  By the way, it was 40% or so off here last month (or was it October or November).  Timing is everything.

Anyway, thanks for the tip on Frank Viola.  That was a great interview he had with Heiser.

You can see it here if anyone is interested: 

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/frankviola/michaelheiser/ 

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 2 2019 5:44 PM

J. Remington Bowling:
But when it comes to Amazon, the logic changes to evil Jeff Bezos!

Not sure that anyone here suggested or implied Bezos or Amazon is evil...although I'm sure such people exist. However, I bet FL employees get to go to the restroom pretty much whenever they want. Amazon employees complained that they didn't experience such luxuries. It's not the profit alone that tells the tale, but how it is extracted that matters.

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