Windows XP and Security

If you still use Windows XP and your antivirus program is Microsoft Security Essentials, my recommendation is to uninstall Microsoft Security Essentials and install Avast in its place before April 2014. This is because Microsoft is reportedly not going to support Microsoft Security Essentials updates for XP after that date.

Avast is free and is now actually ranked better than MSE by some as of mid-2013.

(Reference here)


Parental Controls

I don’t have experience with Parental Control features, but a little searching online reveals that iOS (Apple) and Windows 7 have parental controls built in but Android does not.

Here are a few links that might help:

For Android/mobile users:

Android / iOS:

iPhone, iPod touch, iPad

MAC users

PC Users:

  • Windows 7 Parental Controls 
    • Note: Internet filtering is not available with Windows 7 parental controls.
    • Note for Windows 8 users: there are reports that Family Safety for Windows 8 does not offer proper protection
  • Magic Desktop
  • Qustodio

Please share what works best for you.


Backing up your data

If you have precious data on your computer, you need a way to make sure you have it backed up in case of fire, computer failure, theft, etc. If your hard drive goes bad, you will either have to pay a LOT of money to get the data back, or you just lose the data. (Hard drive failure is common, even with new computers.)

Here are some easy backup options:

Microsoft SyncToy is a free Windows program that allows you to back up files quickly and easily to an external drive or flash drive. You can get small flash drives that are at least 32 GB in size for a very reasonable price. You click the sync option and only the files since the last sync operation are copied over to your backup.

Online Syncing: If you have less than 5-10 GB of data and a good Internet connection, there are a number of online sync options available that automatically back up your user data. See this article.

Make sure you keep installation CDs for any purchased programs you use.

If you can’t read the product key on your Microsoft Windows registration sticker or CD, you should record the key somewhere in case you need to re-install Windows.


Note taking

Microsoft OneNote (part of the Microsoft Office suite)

  • Scan and organize your notes to remove the clutter of all those papers.
  • Automatic text recognition (and searching) for typed information.
  • Allows you to insert audio in a document, and if you take notes on that audio, it remembers where in the audio your note was taken so you can go back and listen to that particular location again.
  • Notes can be synced online (for free) and edited there as well.
  • There is an iPod/iPhone app for OneNote, but note that the free version allows up to 500 notes and then you can’t add any more notes.
  • You can click and drag whole outline structure sub-trees from one place to another.

EverNote is a popular mobile App.

  • It’s a quick way to take notes and organize them, with search capabilities.
  • Recent changes make you get an account, and I think you may have to have online access to use the free version.


The Word
and E-Sword allow you to create notes that are tied to Bible passages. You can even create your own commentaries. See the Bible Programs section for more details.

Auto-Insert Verses into MS Word

E-Sword has macros for Microsoft Word that enable auto-insertion of Bible texts. Select the reference, press the button, and there you have it. Pretty neat!


File Sharing and Syncing

There are lots of possibilities out there for public or private file sharing and syncing.

Why use it?

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File sharing enables you to share files, photos, and mp3 messages with others. For instance, you can upload recordings of assembly meetings to one of these services and then share the files with specific people from your assembly.

File syncing enables you to back up (!) the files on your computer automatically to an online server. If you change a file on your computer that is in a synced folder, the file will automatically be updated at the online server as well.
Then if you lose your computer, you still have your files! If you are away from home and don’t have your computer, you can access the same files online. If you modify them online, they will be updated on your computer when you get home.

Here are some of the most popular options:

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Dropbox (2 to 18 GB)

  • Presently, Dropbox might be the most reliable and best liked by people I know.
  • Sharing Dropbox with others gives you more space

SugarSync (5 GB)

  • I generally prefer Dropbox over SugarSync for its ease of use and speed, but both work well.

SkyDrive (7 GB)

  • SkyDrive is useful with Microsoft Office. You can edit your Office documents online if you are away from your computer.
  • Sync Skydrive: https://apps.live.com/skydrive

Google Drive (5 GB)

  • Google has its own suite of online programs that function similar to Microsoft Office. They are not a replacement for Office (a bit buggy at times, and all the functionality isn’t there), but they do make online collaboration easy. Google drive is the location where these documents are stored, along with your synced documents.

Box

  • Box has a slick way of displaying and playing mp3 files on your own website.

Warning! If you share your files with someone else, they may be able to delete them accidentally. Settings for giving people permission to do certain things vary between services. It is possible to retrieve deleted files, but Dropbox users (at least) must do this one file at a time (last I knew).


Bible Programs

Information about useful programs for Bible study:

E-Sword (free, e-sword.net)

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A powerful program for Bible study.

An abbreviated listing of some of the resources I find most helpful (free unless otherwise stated)

  • Commentaries:
    • Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament
    • Summarized Bible
    • Wuest’s Word Studies (link includes other resources, but I’m not sure all are legal downloads)
    • John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
    • Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament
    • John Darby’s Synopsis of the New Testament
    • Vincent’s Word Studies
    • Believer’s Bible Commentary (purchase)
  • Translations
    • Free:
      • ESV
      • J. N. Darby
      • KJV (with Strong’s numbers)
      • MKJV
      • RV
      • Various N.T. Greek texts with Morphological tags
      • NET Bible
    • Purchase:
      • HCSB
      • NASB (with Strong’s numbers)
      • NIV
      • NKJV
    • Spanish
      • RV 1909 (with Strong’s numbers)
      • LBLA
      • NBLH
      • RV 1960 (purchase)
  •  Dictionaries
    • Strong’s Bible Dictionary
    • International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
    • Thayer’s
    • Robinson’s Morphological Analysis Codes
    • Vine’s Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (purchase)
  • E-books
    • Antiquities of the Jews (Josephus)
    • Fox’s Book of Martyrs
    • Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening
    • E.M. Bounds on Prayer
  • Bible maps & charts
Other features:
  • Parallel Bible (up to four translations)
  • Editor to create your own commentary or study notes. Notes are “linked” to the Bible for easy viewing and can be exported.
  • Powerful search capabilities
  • Create verse lists

The Word (free, theWord.net)

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  • Very similar to e-Sword
    • Pretty much the same resources are available;
    • Last I checked, the Word modules were generally more expensive.
    • A little easier to use, a bit more powerful, more customizable
      • Searches are docked
      • Multiple searches may be open at one time
      • Supports search operators like “AND”, “OR”, “NEAR”, “XOR”, “*”, “?”
      • Search in Greek without worrying about diacritics or accents
      • Create user commentaries, books, or dictionaries that work just like regular resources
      • Make custom modules for distribution that support tables and graphics. Verse references are automatically hyperlinked.
  • You can make it portable: just plug your flash drive into another computer and The Word is at your fingertips (find out how here)

BerBible (free, berbible.org)

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For those who want a very basic, light-weight Bible reading/search tool that includes free KJV, NKJV, ESV and NASB Bible versions.

Online Bible (free, onlinebible.net)

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I prefer the other options, but the What the Bible Teaches New Testament commentary series (digital format) is available only here (to my knowledge) for a $20 purchase.

News from the developers: They hope to have the John Ritchie New and Old Testament What the Bible Teaches series included on the standard DVD by around October 2013.

Logos Bible Software (purchase, logos.com)

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Not for the faint of mind, this is perhaps the ultimate Bible study resource, but comes with a price tag and a learning curve. It features companion apps as well.