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Negative Review in Moore's Mailbag

David Lang

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Applelinks columnist Charles Moore occasionally answers e-mails in a column entitled Moore's Mailbag. In today's installment, he publishes a negative review of Accordance from a user who prefers some of the free Bible software available for the Mac. If any of you would like to write to Mr. Moore with an alternative viewpoint on Accordance, I'd certainly appreciate it.
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That review read something similar to how my child might say he prefers toy planes to real ones because the real ones are too big to be flown around his toy-room.



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Calling that piece of throwaway verbiage a review is too generous.


It is what I would call an uninformed opinion.


Accordance is expensive, but it offers great value for money and return on investment.

If you prefer free, then it would still be expensive at one tenth the price.


Cumbersome installation and upgrades? Nonsense.

Busy interface? Wrong again.

Overall seeming bloatedness? That could mean anything, so it means nothing.


The only good and accurate comments are:

"I have been disappointed with Accordance."

"I much prefer MacSword & Bible Free Reader." Simple opinions, expressed well. But not a review.


This is nothing to be concerned with.

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I would wonder if that "reviewer" has actually used Accordance. If he finds it too expensive, did he actually purchase it? I can't think of anything (besides gasoline for my car) that I find too expensive that I actually purchase.


Has anyone posted any comments to this on Moore's site? I can't figure out where to view comments. My thought is that no one has commented and that is why I don't see any. But if there are comments, and someone knows how to read them, please let me know.


This is a little off the subject, but why do I sometimes see Accordance spelled acCordance (like in Wallace's Greek Grammar: Beyond the Basics)?

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I considered adding a comment, but finally decided that the so-called "review" was not worth my time. When you compare apples to oranges, it is rather easy to determine that an apple is a rather poor orange.


If he want a single ancient English text, very dated commentaries, and no language resource, then by all means go for the free. However, a serious student of the Bible will want something more powerful.


BTW, KJV lovers, I am not disrespecting that Version. I just believe that a serious student needs the KJV plus more advanced tools.




Applelinks columnist Charles Moore occasionally answers e-mails in a column entitled Moore's Mailbag. In today's installment, he publishes a negative review of Accordance from a user who prefers some of the free Bible software available for the Mac. If any of you would like to write to Mr. Moore with an alternative viewpoint on Accordance, I'd certainly appreciate it.
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As a long-time reader of Applelinks and a fellow Nova Scotian, I must say that Charles Moore's site is highly objective. So what needs to be in perspective is that this so-called review was not a review, but rather just a quick note on this person's opinion on Accordance vs. free programs.


Here's the way Applelinks works: it's a dialogue with Charles. If you have an opinion, email it to him and he'll post it with a reply to your email. Postings are daily and usually only involve one email and his reply.


As for free programs, there's a place for them. They fill a need for a lot of people and do what many need. Accordance is a powerful tool, no doubt about it, but it's not for everyone - I believe there is no need to defend it against one person's opinion.

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Believe me, guys, I wasn't trying to make a mountain out of a molehill or get you all to comment-bomb AppleLinks the way Mac users are notorious for doing when the Mac is criticized. I understand that the user's comment was not a full-blown review of Accordance, but he did list what he saw as several negatives, and Charles published it in his Mailbag column. An AppleLinks reader who stumbles across this user's opinion may therefore get what I believe is a somewhat skewed perspective on Accordance. My hope was that a few reasoned e-mails to Charles Moore by satisfied Accordance users might get published in the next installment of Moore's Mailbag and so give AppleLinks readers a more balanced perspective. I could write such a response, but it sure sounds better coming from a user than from an employee.


The irony to me of the user's comments about Accordance being expensive is that they were written in response to a free update which enables users to import new stuff into Accordance for free! :-)


On a different note, Robb Brunansky asked a question about why he sees Accordance sometimes spelled as "acCordance." I've actually written a blog entry to answer that question. Be sure to check it out.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I will probably get "flamed" for this post, but I wanted to respond to the blog posting as someone who came to Accordance a couple of years ago from other software (BibleWorks, BibleSoft, OnlineBible, etc.).


1 - I find it to be too expensive. The separate costs for many modules and the Atlas can make it a fairly expensive purchase.


When compared to "free" software, its true. When compared to other "packaged offerings" it may appear expensive.


Moving from PC packages that I was using occasionally, it took a while for me to do a comparison and pricing of what I needed and would use, as opposed, to "what I got" in the package. For someone who is very tech literate (PCs since '83 and Macs since '85), I found it a little difficult and almost arcane. I was used to BibleWorks where there weren't a lot of options.


If I hadn't found http://anduril.ca/bible/accordance-6.html I would still be selecting modules. :blink:


In a sense, most people are looking for the biggest number of "stuff" in a program and not necessarily building their software library the way they build their personal book library (selectively and over time).


Accordance makes sense for the person who is informed (knows what they need) and is building it over time. No offense, just an observation.


Another key point that Helen pointed out awhile ago, is that there are complicated licensing and distribution issues with current/modern works. Many people forget this. For Accordance to provide modern works, they have to charge to cover development, licensing, forum disk space, etc.


2 - The installing and updating of the modules can be a bit cumbersome.


Installation-- never had a problem if I READ the directions; OK, except a few font issues in late 10.3 and 10.4.

Updating/Module currency-- I have to give him this one. Until the update Widget, there was no way to know if you had the current modules except for asking support for the list. BibleWorks has had Internet updating since around 2001/2002.


3 - The interface is too busy & overall seems bloated.


Sorry, this one is total rubbish! Has this guy tried BibleWorks? I needed the manual whenever I stopped using it for a couple of days!


Like I said before, this is how I would respond to the criticisms based on the experiences I've had with other packages and the time it took to get used to Accordance.


I have no axe to grind-- I really enjoy Accordance. Its "fits" on my Mac. It has 90% of the titles I used and if not, I have parallels. Are there things I would like? Sure, like "Big Kittel" (Sorry, had to put that in ;) )


Just a few thoughts,



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  • 1 year later...

This is NOT A REVIEW. Insulting the person sending in the suggestions for software that THEY can use without forking over a dime is very relevant for many people. If ANYTHING pointing them to the free software will clearly point out its lack of essentials for anything beyond the very basics (NASB, NIV, etc.).


At the end of the day, the low end offerings for accordance make it look really expensive! I think they should either fix it (i.e. put together a more attractive package), or get rid of it. Standard version is essentially a trial version anyway. I'm guessing that people either upgrade or rarely use accordance.


On his comment regarding the friendliness of the UI: Whatever he called it (busy and bloated), it IS his opinion, and those were HIS impressions! I work in software and have some experience in UI design. Where I work, we have two classifications of UI designs that drive the decisions around design and interaction. We call the first "casual" and the latter "professional." I would DEFINITELY classify accordance as a "professional" UI because it assumes you understand a lot about accordance in order to perform basic functions. It is required that the UI be richer (the nicer way of saying busy and bloated) in order to take advantage of the fantastic features of accordance. Casual UIs from tools like macsword do appear less complex because they ARE less complex (I still think it isn't that much better). Accordance is as complex as it needs to be (OK... IMHO, a little more then it needs to be when you look at things like user tools, notes, etc.).


You know what differs Professional user vs Casual user where I work? The casual user uses the software on an infrequent basis. An example, entering in expenses online for ERP, placing an online order for ecommerce. These experiences should be abundantly simple and clear. NOT necessarily efficient! The Professional user spends time daily in the application and is very familiar with it, likely performs some very repetitive tasks and is always looking for the fastest, most efficient way to do things. Examples of this would be someone who takes orders over the phone (note the similarity to someone that places an order online), or someone who processes expenses in AP.


Accordance is going to continually get classed just like this by casual users who want to use it for simple tasks. This is why I personally think that the software, especially the trial and standard versions, should come bundled with a PART of the video tutorials. Those that help users accomplish the basic tasks that all free software do "OK" and especially those that they do sufficiently.


To tell a user that it is more powerful is like trying to sell someone that needs to move a TV from Best Buy to their house that an 18-wheeler can do the job better then anything. It just makes you look silly. Anyone that's in the market for Accordance will look at the software he suggested and move right along to accordance... if ANYTHING it will feed into accordance as people look at the free stuff's lack of features and come right to accordance because they heard about it. In fact, that's how I came to know about accordance (coming over from the PC when mac went intel and parallels enabled me to still run critical sw for work)... someone bad-mouthed accordance and pointed me to the free stuff.... I looked and was totally unimpressed, so I looked at accordance. Here I am over $1000 later (NO one would ever have convinced me to spend that much up front) an accordance customer.



What would I DO if I was in charge?


1. Create a realistically priced set of packages that is of value at sub-$100 level.

Not an easy task, I know, I work in software product management (but that's why they pay me as much as they do... it makes a real difference)


2. Make it easier to start using accordance right out of the box

Put up a spash screen at startup that will run you through the basics of accordance's essential tasks

Again, a product management task that needs some leg work determining what those tasks are and how to show them to a "casual" user. I would argue that this is needed for any new or potential user, professional or casual.


3. Work on making that UI better looking... I know this is WIP, but I had to say it.

Once Logos finally finishes their mac version, accordance will be hard pressed to take in new customers if the first impression isn't better. They have content and familiarity with switchers. Accordance will no longer be the only viable mac game in town!




Just admit that accordance is not, nor will ever be in the lower end of the bible software marketplace. With all of the fantastic online resources out there, fighting the battle for the bottom end of the market is a waste of time. I would argue that there are even attacks from the top/side of the market with the atlas that accordance should leverage (e.g. Google earth with KML and 3D layers... let google develop the mapping, you do the content). Actually having people talk like he did will ATTRACT the higher end users!

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