Crossway introduces ESV Study Bible app

While you can still download the ESV Bible app for free, Crossway has now announced that you can get the ESV Bible + app (the ESV Study Bible) for iPad and iPhone (and iPod Touch).  For the next 48 hours, you can get the ESV Bible + app for $9.99, after which it will be at the introductory rate of $12.99 until Aug. 7. After that it will go for $14.99.

While that may seem like a steep price for something you can get for free (the ESV Bible app), you have to remember that the print version of the ESV Study Bible goes for $49.99. The ESV Study Bible is an amazing resource and to be able to carry that around with you in your pocket it amazing.

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Crossway’s free ESV Bible app now available for iPad

So, you have a new iPad and would like to actually do something with it that doesn’t look like you’re worshipping it. You know that free ESV Bible app that Crossway released for the iPod/iPod Touch last month? It’s now available for iPad as well — also for free. Now, this will only be cool if you actually take time to read it. Maybe you won’t need to download as many other apps if you get this one. Just a thought.

RSSCloud: When your blog becomes instant

WordPress has announced that it has added RSSCloud to the millions of blogs it hosts? So what, you say? What it means is that blogs can now act as real-time discussions, the way Twitter works. That means that your feed reader, if it supports RSSCloud, will get updates instantaneously rather than every 15 or 60 minutes. The ReadWriteWeb blog puts it in perspective:

Real time updates could enable several things. Faster distribution of blog posts, more compelling conversations in real-time and a renewed timeliness for blogging vs. services like Twitter are all likely consequences. The list of possible technical developments on top of RSSCloud could be as open-ended as the developments enabled by the core of RSS.

RSS has made blogging viable by freeing readers of the requirement of visiting each site they are interested in. It has made podcasts subscribable. It has made wiki change notifications trackable outside the mess of the email inbox. It has made search a persistent action, instead of a one-off occasional delayed reaction. RSS is mixable, mashable, parsable, filterabile.

Now RSSCloud could add a real-time dimension to all of that. The paradigm just got a very big vote of support.

Dangerous living: The danger of unprotected text while driving

Because we have built our automobiles to resemble living rooms (comfy seats, radios, AC, cupholders, etc.) rather than vehicles, it is not surprising that people want to bring their phones and TVs along for the ride as well. The idea that we could make a trip of any length without being pacified by songs, movies or texting seems unthinkable to most children, as well as many adults.

But think it over: How in the world do people expect to drive competently when they are trying to send the latest text message about what they’re going to be doing in the next five minutes? Yes, cars are easier to manipulate these days then in the past, but traffic is still traffic and goodness knows it would be nice to give some attention for the sake of those around you.

With that in mind, Car and Driver has done a study as to just how texting affects a driver’s ability to react. The test was pretty straightforward: Two subjects were tested in their response to a mounted red light (meant to simulate a brake light in a lead car). They were tested driving on a straight route with no other traffic. Their results were tested based on no impairments, when legally intoxicated, while reading texts and while sending texts. The results were clear:

The results, though not surprising, were eye-opening. Intern Brown’s baseline reaction time at 35 mph of 0.45 second worsened to 0.57 while reading a text, improved to 0.52 while writing a text, and returned almost to the baseline while impaired by alcohol, at 0.46. At 70 mph, his baseline reaction was 0.39 second, while the reading (0.50), texting (0.48), and drinking (0.50) numbers were similar. But the averages don’t tell the whole story. Looking at Jordan’s slowest reaction time at 35 mph, he traveled an extra 21 feet (more than a car length) before hitting the brakes while reading and went 16 feet longer while texting. At 70 mph, a vehicle travels 103 feet every second, and Brown’s worst reaction time while reading at that speed put him about 30 feet (31 while typing) farther down the road versus 15 feet while drunk.

Alterman fared much, much worse. While reading a text and driving at 35 mph, his average baseline reaction time of 0.57 second nearly tripled, to 1.44 seconds. While texting, his response time was 1.36 seconds. These figures correspond to an extra 45 and 41 feet, respectively, before hitting the brakes. His reaction time after drinking averaged 0.64 second and, by comparison, added only seven feet. The results at 70 mph were similar: Alterman’s response time while reading a text was 0.35 second longer than his base performance of 0.56 second, and writing a text added 0.68 second to his reaction time. But his intoxicated number increased only 0.04 second over the base score, to a total of 0.60 second.

The upshot? We all know that driving while drunk is terrible. But driving while texting is way worse. How much? Consider the time it takes to break at 70 mph:

  • Unimpaired: .54 seconds to brake
  • Legally drunk: add 4 feet
  • Reading e-mail: add 36 feet
  • Sending a text: add 70 feet

I haven’t heard about any group called Mothers Against Texting Drivers yet, but the more we hear about accidents and deaths caused by texting, inattentive drivers, the likelier it may be.

Breakthrough: Restoring sight by adult stem cell treatment

Adult stem cell technology is amazing in what it can accomplish. The video below shows how sight is being restored using contact lenses coated with the person’s own stem cells. WARNING: There is eye surgery shown in parts that may be hard to watch for the squeamish.

That is great news. Josh Brahm comments on that and points out that you should be careful when reading stories about these breakthroughs. As a headline writer myself, I can say that biases aren’t always there when headlines are written. But I also know that subtleties can be lost when readers look at headlines and don’t read stories all the way through. Also, while headlines can be innocently vague, it does irritate me when stories are vaguely written or edited. That is shoddy journalism. Saying stem cell research when it is actually adult (or ISP) stem cell research is either laziness or brazen misrepresentation. Either way it’s wrong.

Great technology at your fingertips

ESV Study BibleIn these heady days of new technology, it is easy to get caught up in the latest great must-have new gadget. As Exhibit A I would present myself. Ignoring the gentle jabs lobbed my way, I tote my MacBook to men’s Bible study on Friday mornings so I can view the ESV Study Bible online and quickly jump to passages. I love it.

That said, I can appreciate this post by Tim Challies talking about how he fell out of love with his Kindle. It did it’s job, but couldn’t quite match the technology it was trying to replace:

Something changed between then and now—I came to see that all of the things that frustrated me about the Kindle were things that made it not like a book. It’s book-like qualities were it’s best qualities; it’s non-book-like qualities were the ones that got to me. All of the things that annoyed me were the things that made the experience more like operating a computer and less like reading a book. Pages took too long to turn; I could not splash yellow highlighter on the pages; I could not skim through the book looking quickly for a word or phrase or note; I could not scrawl notes in the margins. Sure, there were a few advantages—the notes I did take (saved in a text file on the Kindle) could be exported to my computer simply by plugging in a USB cable; books were less expensive and instantly added to my collection; hundreds of classics were available for free. But overall, the Kindle experience paled in comparison to the happy, familiar, comforting experience of sitting down with a book. Everything I wanted the Kindle to do, a book could do better.

He goes on to list more reasons why the book is the perfect technology. Perhaps this will change one day, but for now I can see his point. I work at a newspaper, which I hear every day is a dying industry. Yet, there is a feeling of holding a newspaper in your hand or the anticipation of picking up the day’s news off your front porch (or wherever it lands!) or handing a section to your wife so you can have the sports pages that so far has not been replaced. A common joke in our family is that an e-mail doesn’t exist for my in-laws until it is printed out and held in their hands. Some things are hard to replace.

So, we can appreciate new technology, but don’t be so quick to trash the old technology (or the people who are devoted to it). God works in mysterious way.

The ESV Study Bible now available as an ePub book

Crossway Books announced Tuesday that the English Standard Version (ESV) Study Bible is now available for $14.99 as an ePub book for the iPhone, iPod Touch or other portable devices. To read it (if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch) use the free application Stanza. And, if you don’t have one of those devices, you can also download the free e-reader for your desktop or laptop (if you’re on a Mac) to have the ESV there if you wish.

If you think taking your tunes with you is cool imagine taking God’s word and the comprehensive, complementary material included with the ESV Study Bible. So, this is what we’re talking about:

  • 2 million words of Bible text and insightful teaching.
  • 20,000 notes-focusing especially on understanding the Bible text and providing answers to frequently raised issues.
  • Over 50 articles-including articles on the Bible’s authority and reliability; on biblical archaeology, theology, ethics, and personal application.
  • 200-plus charts-offering key insights and in-depth analysis in clear, concise outline form; located throughout the Bible.*
  • Over 200 maps-created with the latest digital technology, satellite images, and archaeological research; throughout the Bible.
  • 40 all-new illustrations-including renderings and architectural diagrams of the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant, Solomon’s temple, Herod’s temple, the city of Jerusalem in Jesus’ time and throughout the history of Israel, and many more.

New iPhones: Apple wants you to stimulate the economy

A little silver lining on the dark economy cloud as reported by the Associated Press:

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple Inc. slashed the entry price for an iPhone in half and rolled out new laptops for $300 less than previous models Monday, the company’s first dramatic price cuts since the recession began a year and a half ago.

Apple unveiled two new models of the iPhone – the 3G S – that will sport a faster processor and sought-after features like an internal compass, a video camera and an improved photo camera. A 16-gigabyte version of the 3G S will cost $199 and a 32-gigabyte model will be $299. The 8-gigabyte iPhone 3G, which came out last year, will be cut to $99 from $199.

All those people who dished out $599 two years ago for lesser phones will be really glad to hear this news. Or not.