Logos Offering 24 Free Books for Theological Studies

I just want to throw this out there, Logos is doing an advent giveaway in which they are giving away twenty-four different biblical resources that can be utilized in their Logos software.A drawing of books standing next to each other

You don’t have Logos? Good news, you can get the base install for free.

You don’t have to worry about having missed any of the free volumes either, each volume is unveiled on a separate day but the past volumes are also available (till the end of advent).

Note: Logos focuses on academic resources, I wouldn’t recommend these books to those beginning biblical studies (whether as a lay person or academically) with the exception of the Cornerstone Biblical Commentary.

Thus far the selection has included:

  • Cornerstone Biblical Commentary: 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Hebrews – Based on the New Living Translation. This is a good commentary to have.
  • N.T. Wright’s Scripture and the Authority of God. – Wright is one of the most controversial and well-known contemporary theologians.
  • Calvin’s Calvinism (2 Volumes) – John Calvin was one of the most famous theologians of the Protestant Reformation and his thought has been integral to much of present-day theology.
  • Tabletalk Magazine Bundle: Christian History (11 Issues) – Covers the second to twelfth centuries of Christian history.

I can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s offers will be!

P.S. There are also a few other books Logos offers for free. Of these I’d most highly recommend :

  • Faithlife Study Bible – A constantly growing digital study bible. A great resource, fairly friendly for any reader.
  • Lexham Bible Dictionary – An awesome, constantly growing dictionary of the Bible. You don’t need to throw away those old, old print dictionaries you may have, but refer to the Lexham Bible Dictionary first to ensure you are learning about the latest studies. I find developments in understanding the Greek language and archaeological studies especially fascinating!
  • Crucial Questions Series (20 Volumes) by R.C. Sproul – I haven’t read these volumes myself, but Sproul has a solid reputation. His thought is from the Reformed school, which means an emphasis on predestination over free-will.
  • The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition – The Society for Biblical Languages (SBL) is well-known for its quality resources. If you want to read the New Testament in Greek, this can be a great Greek version to read.

An Introduction to Blogging.

Introduction

[I invited my brother, Paul, to begin blogging on Dave Enjoys. He is taking me up on this offer – so I figured I’d send him an email with some basic information. This information could be useful to others – whether that be someone else who starts blogging with me or someone who decides to start up their own blog. It may also have some tips and tricks that folks who have established blogs aren’t aware of…So instead of sending an email, I’m writing this blog post. The content will be the same – it will just be public so that others can utilize it as they see fit.]

The Lesson Begins

Dear Paul,

WordPress Logo
The logo of the blogging software WordPress. WordPress Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m really excited you are going to be blogging on Dave Enjoys. I changed your account to an administrator account. Of course, don’t change any of the administrative settings – but feel free to explore to see how things are configured. If you want, I have another WordPress instance that is just for testing you can play around with – just let me know and I’ll give you the username and password and url for it.

Here is a bunch of information, of varying importance, which you can use to improve your blogging experience. Let me know if you have any questions.

Gravatar

The first thing you should do is setup a Gravatar. This is a universal avatar – it provides a consistent profile picture for your posts on this site and next to comments you make elsewhere around the web. It also lets you setup a mini-profile.

Login

To login you’ll go to http://www.nameofsite.com/wp-admin/ and enter the username and password you created.

Add a Post

Once you are logged in look for Posts on the left-hand navigation bar. If you rest your mouse over it a drop-down menu will pop out and you can select Add New. The Add New Post page consists of a space for the title of your post. This should be something eye-catching and descriptive, but not too wordy. I’m not very good at this – and don’t spend a lot of time figuring out what will really catch folks’ eye, but a good title can make the difference between whether a post has ten visits or eighty thousand (aka, whether it goes viral).[1] So, don’t follow my example and write good, catchy post titles.

The post title is used to create a “permalink” – a permanent link to the post on the blog. For example, the permalink for this post is: http://www.daveenjoys.com/2013/03/18/an-introduction-to-blogging/. You can edit these links, but usually whatever WordPress comes up with is fine.

After this you have the main body of your post. This is pretty easy – the interface is WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get). I’ll let you figure out this part for yourself other than to note that if you need to manually tweak the HTML for the page you want to click on the Text tab on the top-right, and then back to Visual when you want to use the WYSIWYG interface. Also, you can use the Add Media button to add pictures, audio, and video to a post and the small icon immediately to the right of that allows you to add a custom form to a post, but you probably won’t be using that.

Zemanta It!

I run a plugin on WordPress called Zemanta. This plugin “reads” what you are righting and then provides helpful content you can include in your post:

  • On the right-hand side it provides pictures that may be related to your post. Usually they are decently relevant, but not always. I find the search functionality to be fairly useless. You also want to see what sort of license the picture/image has – they need to be public domain, fair-use, CC AttributionOnly, or etc. They should not be CC NonCommercial, etc.
    • When inserting an image don’t put the cursor at the beginning of the post. Instead move it down a paragraph or two and then insert it. If you put it at the beginning that is what appears in email subscriptions and RSS feeds, oftentimes as a jumble of HTML code – not very appealing. You can play around with positioning the image on the left/right as you wish.
  • Below the images you’ll see related articles. You can click on these to add an image and a link to multiple articles at the end of your post. You can add up to ten articles to a post.
    • Look at how old a post is, usually relevant posts should be from within the last few weeks to months time span.
    • By linking to relevant articles you oftentimes get a link back – its a way of mutually promoting posts. Look for sites that aren’t “the big ones” – as they likely have trackbacks turned off, but smaller sites similar to this one will likely have them on.
  • Underneath the post body you’ll see in-text links. This provides you with a number of links to topics Zemanta noticed are in your post – for example, in this post Zemanta has picked up on my utilization of the words, “WordPress”, “WYSIWYG”, “Zemanta”, “blogging”, and so on.
    • Zemanta only makes into a link the first usage of the words you choose on the post. Any further instances will just be plain text.
    • If you rest your mouse over the word next to in-text links you’ll see a drop-down of options for where you want to send folks who click on the link – for example, to a Wikipedia page or the official product page, etc.
    • Don’t add links just b/c Zemanta picks them out. Sometimes you really don’t need to link to a page on the topic. For example, if you are talking about “TV” linking to a Wikipedia article on “TV” is not likely to be highly interesting to your readers.
    • At the bottom right you’ll notice tags, we’ll talk more about tags in a bit, but basically Zemanta suggests tags that might be appropriate for this post.

Categorize Me!

Your next task is to add the post to one or more categories. For example, this post will be added to the “learning”, “productivity”, “technology”, “web”, and “work” categories. We’ll also remove “uncategorized” from the post. In general, each post should fit into a category.

What About Tags?

So a category gives us a big picture of what an article is about – but what if we talk about a lot of other topics tangentially within a post? Then tags come in handy. Tags generally duplicate categories but then expand beyond them. For example, applicable tags to this post might be “Zemanta”, “WordPress”, “Creative Commons”, “WYSIWYG”, and so on. We don’t want to have billions of categories, but having numerous tags is fine.

Zemanta provides you with recommended tags, but you can also click on “Choose from most used tags” to get ideas of what tags to use (this pulls the most-used tags on this site, not from everywhere). You can also manually enter your own tags.

Publicize It?

You’ll notice on the right hand side above “Publish” it says “Publicize.” You don’t need to do anything here – just note that it automatically posts to the Dave Enjoys Facebook page and to the Dave Enjoys Twitter page whenever a new post is published.

Post It!

Now you are ready to make your post visible to the entire world, so click Publish. Once you’ve published a link will appear at the top of the page that will allow you to view your post. Make sure everything looks correct, if anything is messed up, fix it and then update the post.

Promote It.

The creation of a post isn’t the end of the job. How will anyone hear about this post? Yes, its been posted to the Facebook and Twitter pages for Dave Enjoys and an email has been dispatched to subscribers of Dave Enjoys, and further individuals will read it when it appears in their RSS feeds – but there is more that can be done to promote the post:

  • Share the post on your own Facebook wall, this way your friends will see the post, not just Dave Enjoys fans.
  • Retweet the post on your personal Twitter account for the same reason.
  • If the post is relevant, post it to StumbleUpon. This is a simple thumbs up using their toolbar.
  • Note at the bottom of the post the options to share to Digg and Reddit – share as appropriate. You can also publicize to other services such as Slashdot if you want.

Care for It.

The final step in publishing a blog post is in continuing to care for it. Folks will read your post and comment on it (you hope). If they do you want to honor their investment of time by responding to each comment personally. If the comments are crazy, spammy, etc. then no need – but each thoughtful comment should receive a thoughtful reply.

The End

Well, that pretty much sums it up. Hopefully this will help you get started. Let me know if you have any questions!

Dave

  1. [1]Believe it or not, I’ve had posts blow up a few times in the past, usually entirely accidentally.

Learning and Brushing Up On Web Programming.

December 2008 Browser Usage
December 2008 Browser Usage (Photo credit: Elliott P)

There are a bazillion options out there for learning web programming. One I recommend (and still use) is W3Schools. No, you won’t learn everything by using

W3Schools, but you can learn a lot and its more systematic than googling for articles piecemeal as you go along. I also find W3Schools a useful reference tool when I need to refresh my mind on some technique or language I haven’t used in a while.

They have tutorials available on HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AJAX, SQL, PHP, ASP.NET Web Forms, XML, and a bunch of other technologies I didn’t mention. If you are brand new to web programming start with the HTML tutorials then move on to CSS followed by JavaScript. It is also likely that you’ll need to do database work at some point, so learn SQL and then you can choose what sort of language you want to program interactive applications in – two of the most popular are ASP.NET and PHP.

Free Neuroscience e-Textbook.

An animated gif of MRI images of a human head
Image via Wikipedia

I recently decided I wanted to embark on studies of neuroscience. As someone who suffers from childhood onset Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Major Depressive episodes I know that much about me is tied up in my neurological makeup. Recently I was reading some journal articles about the latest developments in OCD and depression treatments and wanted to understand more about the underlying processes…thus my desire to learn neuroscience.

I spent some time surfing around the web looking for resources. I found a number of resources but many seemed outdated, unmaintained, or only partial. I looked for various textbooks on the subject but their prices were fairly high ($60 on eBay, etc.). I know, I know, that isn’t much at all…but it was more than I wanted to spend at the moment.

I eventually stumbled upon Neuroscience Online: An Electronic Textbook for the Neurosciences. It is a free and online project from The University of Texas Medical School. It is written by a number of faculty members and overseen/edited by Dr. John H. Bryne, Department Chair for Neurobiology and Anatomy.

The work consists of four major sections which are further divided into subsections (chapters): Cellular and Molecular Biology, Sensory Systems, Motor Systems, and Homeostasis and Higher Brain Functions.

I’m just plowing through Cellular and Molecular Biology at this juncture, but the scope and quality of the work is quite impressive. There are numerous images and animations of high-quality throughout the work that help illustrate the various concepts being discussed. So far it has been fairly understandable to my lay perspective (I have no background in medicine and minimal in chemistry, biology, and so on). Numerous terms are clearly defined, though there are also numerous terms which a lay individual (such as myself) are unlikely to be familiar with – but which one can use a search engine/dictionary to define.

Kudos to Dr. Byrne and all his collaborators for an excellent resource!