Monday, November 9, 2009

Logos 4 ... one week later

As I mentioned last week, Logos Bible software recently came out with version 4. I felt there were enough features and books added to make it worth the upgrade (especially at the 15% early bird discount), so I went ahead and bought it. A week later, having had some time now to tinker around and prepare a sermon with it, what's my assessment? Overall, I'm very impressed.

Here's a run-down of my first week using Logos 4.

Day 1. When I bought the upgrade, I had the option of receiving it by DVD or by download. Being too impatient for the DVD to be mailed, I started the download. :) But then I discovered just how big this new program was. Logos Gold was 10 gigabytes! I actually ran out of hard drive space and had to delete some programs and move a bunch of stuff around to my alternate hard drives just to make space for this behemoth. Then it took about 10 hours to download on a high speed connection. My computer slogged along all day Monday, and sometime in the middle of the night finally finished downloading and initializing the new software.

Day 2. Like a kid on Christmas morning, I was excited to open and try out my new toy on Tuesday, only to discover something new called "indexing." Logos was crawling through my whole digital library of over 2,000 books, meticulously recording every word so that searches will become faster, much like Google does. It was a slow process but will be worth it in the long run. I played around with the program some, but indexing slowed everything down and searches would of course not perform correctly yet.

Day 3. Finally, Logos 4 was up and running, and I was able to really explore it. Having used Logos for about 7 years now, I recognized many features and welcomed the "face lift," but noticed that several important features were missing. Where were my collections? My topic browser? My keylinks? My custom keyboard shortcuts? They were gone. AWOL. Totally left out of version 4, or so drastically changed that they were hardly recognizable. This left me in a mild state of panic. I began using the help feature and the online forum to get answers, and realized I was going to have to adapt to this program and think of new ways to do old things.

Days 4-7. The more I use the program, the more I'm enjoying it. It's obvious they're still working some bugs out and that all the features won't be available until some time next year, but overall my experience has been very positive. Here are some highlights:
  • Maps, photos, and images. As I expected, this is much improved over previous versions of Logos. I love that images from all my books pop up in the Passage Guide, as well as the new Biblical People, Biblical Places, and Biblical Things tools. I'm also pleased with how easy it is to copy and paste picture into Word and Powerpoint.
  • Adaptive layout. When you open a new resource (i.e. a book or research tool), it now fits right into your existing layout. No need to drag and re-size windows. It's a time-saver that has made Logos more enjoyable to use.
  • Prioritizing. Instead of promoting books for different data types, Logos 4 has one simple prioritization list for all the books in your library. Overall, this is far simpler.
  • Search. Due to the indexing feature, searches are quite fast and accurate. I miss my topic browser from version 3, but I believe as time goes on that the Logos 4 search engine will continue to improve in accuracy and desired results.
  • Other handy tools. The F11 full screen and F8 drawing mode are nice.
  • Copying text. This works much better now. When I paste text into Microsoft Word, it retains the formatting of my document. I copy and paste all the time during sermon prep, so again, this is a real time saver.
Logos 4 is beautiful and seems much more intuitive for new users. For those of us well-acquainted with version 3, it's going to take some adjustment, but I think it will become comfortable very quickly.

With all the bells and whistles, Logos 4 is pretty demanding on my 2006 Dell Laptop. It's running somewhat slower than version 3 did, but I think the new search, layout, etc. features help compensate for this. I'm very thankful for what Logos has done, and am confident this product will aid me in Bible study in the years ahead.

If you're thinking about upgrading or have already done so, here are a few must-read articles:

Finally, if you're curious what features I miss and what I would like them to consider bringing back:

  • Ability to define serial and parallel resource associations
  • Ability to customize keyboard shortcuts
  • Topic browser
  • Turn off visual cue (the little sparkly circle that appears when a new resources is opened)
  • Make it easier to define collections - make it stop jumping back to the top of the menu after adding or removing a resource
  • Close windows tool, where all the open resources were listed and you could choose which windows to close

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