Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sony Reader (PRS-T1): The Best E-Reader for Biblical Scholars

The ubiquity of the Kindle says more about the success of Amazon's marketing machine than the quality of its product. To be fair, the Kindle Touch would probably best the stock edition of my Sony Reader in a head-to-head comparison. Despite its pinch-to-zoom touch screen, good pdf support, browser, and general flexibility, the PRS-T1's PC/Mac Reader software is lousy, and user highlights aren't preserved on the "cloud" as they are with the Kindle. But the Sony has one feature that makes it far superior, in my opinion, to the competition: It runs Android OS 2.2, and can easily be rooted to run a wide variety of Android Apps, including the Kindle App for Android--so any concerns about accessing Amazon's wide selection are moot.

I was delighted to be able to access a mobile Android version of Anki's excellent free flashcard program:
A work-around has been developed to display Hebrew correctly right-to-left, although it involves stripping vowel points:
(I haven't tried any Greek databases yet, but they do work.)

You can also install a modified Home screen even without rooting the device:

Update: There is also a modified reader, which significantly improves the stock Sony Reader. After installing GentiumPlus as an additional font, getting Polytonic Greek texts to display with full accents is as simple as choosing the correct font.

Best of all, I was able to install the Logos Bible Software Android App, which gives me access to anything in my Logos library as well as morphologically tagged Greek and Hebrew Bibles:
 The Hebrew vowel points aren't perfect, but they are certainly readable, and the app works great:

  • Since I've criticized Logos in the past, I should note that their initiative to make libraries available to users across platforms at no extra charge is fantastic--definitely a selling feature.
  • Getting the Logos app working involved the rather more complicated process of installing a Micro SD card and resizing the data partition. I followed the directions here and here.  
  • If you don't own a desktop version of Logos several other Bible apps are available. 
In sum, the rooted Sony Reader can do just about everything my old Tungsten E2 could do, with a larger e-ink screen, a better battery, and internet access. If you are thinking about purchasing an e-reader, the Sony is definitely worth considering;  the-ebook-reader.com calls it "the Best Advanced eBook Reader." The only downside is the time it takes to get all the "productivity software" up and running.

Note: Obviously, I can take no responsibility for what might happen to your device if you follow the same process.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Briercrest 2013 Study Tour: Biblical Sites in Turkey and Greece

Update: The official website is now live: http://www.briercrest.ca/studytour/

I am delighted to announce that Briercrest College and Seminary is organizing a 17-day study tour of Turkey and Greece in 2013. The tour will focus on Greco-Roman sites related to the journeys of Paul and the churches of Revelation. With stops in Troy, Athens, Corinth and Delphi, the trip will also be of interest to students of Classical Greece. I can say from experience that Turkey is amazing. I can't wait to go back and see Greece as well!

The trip will be hosted by me and my colleague, Dr. Kevin Daugherty, and will feature six days of teaching by Dr. Mark Wilson, director of the Seven Churches Network, and author of Biblical Turkey: A Guide to Jewish and Christian Sites of Asia Minor (2010). Accommodation, travel, and guiding in Turkey and Greece will be organized by Tutku Tours. International airfare and travel insurance will be arranged by Menno Travel.

Our current itinerary is as follows:
  • April 28, Sunday Departure Regina, SK  
  • April 29, Monday Arrive Istanbul Meet our Tutku Tour guide and transfer to our hotel in Istanbul. The rest of the day is free. Overnight in Istanbul. 

  • April 30, Tuesday Istanbul On our first full day in Turkey we will sample some of the stunning sites in Istanbul, including the Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, the Archaeological Museum, the Underground Cistern and the Grand Bazaar. Overnight in Istanbul.
  •  May 1, Wednesday Morning Flight to Antalya; Perga – Attalia After our arrival in Antalya, we will visit the Greco-Roman city of Perga (Acts 13:13-14; 14:25) and the Antalya Museum before taking a walking tour of Attalia that concludes at the Asia Minor Research Center. Overnight in Antalya. 

  • May 2, Thursday Pisidian Antioch – Colossae This morning we will drive to Yalvaç to visit Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:14) and Yalvaç Museum. We will then drive west past ancient Apollonia and Apamea, with a brief stop at the unexcavated site of Colossae. Overnight in Pamukkale. 
  •  May 3, Friday Hierapolis – Laodicea – Aphrodisias – Kusadasi Today we will visit the biblical cities of Hierapolis (Col 4:13) and Laodicea, and stop in Aphrodisias. Overnight Kuşadasi. 
  • May 4, Saturday Ephesus – Kuşadasi We will spend the day touring the ancient site of Ephesus, including terrace houses and the temple of Artemis, as well as St. John’s Basilica and the museum in Selçuk. Overnight Kuşadasi. 
  • May 5, Sunday Miletus – Didyma – Priene – Izmir Today we will visit Miletus (Acts 20:15, 17), the Temple of Apollo at Didyma, and the Hellenistic city of Priene. Overnight Izmir
  • May 6, Monday Smyrna, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Thyatira – Bergama Today we will concentrate on the cities mentioned in Revelation 2-3, with visits to Smyrna, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Thyatira. Overnight Bergama. 
  • May 7, Tuesday Pergamum – Assos We will spend most of the day visiting the extensive cite of Pergamum (Rev 2:12-17), including the acropolis, the Red Basilica, and the Asclepium. We will then drive past the port city of Adramyttium mentioned in Acts 27:2. Overnight Assos. 

  • May 8, Wednesday Assos – Troas – Troy - Transfer to Greece After an early breakfast, we will tour the site of Assos (Acts 20:13-14), and then travel to Greece with stops along the way in Troas and Troy. Overnight Kavala. 
  • May 9, Friday. Neapolis – Philippi – Amphipolis - We will begin our day in Neapolis and then follow the route of Paul’s second missionary journey with visits to Neapolis, Philippi and Amphipolis, and a final drive to Thessalonica. Overnight Thessaloniki. 
  • May 10, Saturday Thessalonica – Berea – Vergina After visiting ancient Thessalonica, we will drive to Berea (Acts 17), and then visit the royal tombs of Macedonia at Vergina. Overnight Delphi. 
  • May 11, Sunday Delphi We will spend the day at the beautiful ancient Greek city of Delphi. Overnight Corinth. 
  • May 12, Monday Corinth – Cenchrae We will spend the day in the famous city of Corinth and the port of Cenchrae. Overnight Athens. 
  • May 13, Tuesday Athens the acropolis and agora; Mars hill. On our final day, we will visit the acropolis of Athens, the extensive agora, and Mars hill. We will also tour the Parthenon museum. Overnight Athens. 
  • May 14, Wednesday Transfer to Athens Airport – Fly back to Regina, SK – End. 
  • (See my Turkey Travelogue for photos and more information on Istanbul, Hierapolis, Aphrodisias, Ephesus, Didyma, Priene, and Pergamum.) 
The tour is open to all Briercrest College and Seminary students in good standing as well as friends and alumni of Briercrest. So mark your calendar for April 28 - May 14, 2013, and stay tuned for more details!