Glo Bible Software: Review and Giveaway

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANKS.

The nice folks at Immersion Digital recently asked me if I would be interested in trying, reviewing, and giving away the premium version of their Glo Bible software — an “interactive Bible” of sorts. Because I am a self-confessed geek who is always interested in trying out new programs, I quickly said yes.

What is Glo Bible?

According to the Glo Bible website, Glo is essentially an interactive Bible, providing the text of Scripture along with helpful study resources for you to use on your computer or portable device. It works on your Mac or PC, and also has apps you can install on your iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.

Glo Bible gives you the entire text of the Bible in several commonly used translations (such as the KJV, NIV, ESV, and the Message). It also contains a Bible Atlas, Timeline, Topical Reference, and an abundance of supporting media (photos, videos, virtual tours, and more).

Installation is a snap. Navigation is easy and “pretty.” You can access Bible reading plans or easily create your own plan. You can utilize built-in study notes, in addition to keeping track of your own notes and bookmarks. Searching and filtering are intuitive. And they recently added integration of YouVersion notes and other features.

My experience

I thought I’d walk you through my own use of Glo Bible. In our church, we’ve been studying 1 Samuel 27, so let’s start there.

Home page of Glo Bible:

Bible text:

As you can see, simply navigating to my chosen text presents me with several resources (study notes, maps/photos) and options  (taking notes, syncing with YouVersion notes). I can also easily change my selected version, add a bookmark, or perform a search, using the tools along the top of the page. And see that nifty Glo-logo-circle type thing next to the verse I have highlighted (v.1)? If I click on that…

…it brings up additional options, including highlights, bookmarks, and accessing relevant information from Glo’s other resources. Let’s click on the media icon.

Immediately I’m shown the Scripture reference along with articles, maps, and photos that relate to the verse I’ve chosen. In general, the more verses you have selected, the more media resources you’ll be presented with. Pretty neat, and you can just keep exploring from there.

While I’ve really enjoyed exploring the features of Glo, checking out all the multimedia resources, and utilizing its many study helps, I think my favorite feature of Glo Bible is the ability to record and maintain my own notes. Not only can I access them on my laptop, but they sync up with my account so I can access them on my iPad or iPod touch as well. I can input notes in church and they’ll be on my laptop when I get home, or I can take notes during my personal Bible study, but access them during a conversation with a friend. Very handy.

My conclusions

I’ve been very pleased with Glo Bible software. It has my preferred translation (ESV) and as I mentioned above, I enjoy both the study resources and the ability to record, maintain, and sync my study notes. I love that I can have it on multiple devices — handy at all times! Admittedly, Glo isn’t as robust as some Bible software out there, but it still provides an easy-to-use, easy-to-navigate, resource-rich program at a reasonable price.

Try Glo for yourself

Read on to learn how you can win your own copy of the premium version of Glo Bible (a $69 value!). But in the meantime, you can easily download the Free Lite version of Glo for your Mac, PC, iPad or iPhone/iPod touch. The Lite version doesn’t have all the same resources as the premium version, but you’ll still get two Bible translations, media resources, and the ability to add notes, bookmarks, and highlights to the text — just enough for you to get familiar with Glo and see if it would be a good supplement to your personal Bible study.

Visit Glo’s download page to learn more.

Win Glo premium

And now, I’m pleased to say that one of you will win the premium version of Glo Bible. To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post. I’ll leave the giveaway open for one week, and randomly pick a winner next Friday, June 24th.

DVD Review: Read and Share DVD Bible

Some time ago (and I’m embarrassed to say how long, because it’s been TOO long), I received a copy of the Read and Share DVD Bible Volume 1 from Thomas Nelson Publishers. I was asked to watch it (which I did, along with my youngest son, L), and to share our honest opinions.

The Read and Share DVD Bible is a collection of 13 Bible stories, told through animation and quite a bit of narration. The stories are drawn from both the Old and New Testaments and each story is approximately three minutes long. The Bible accounts are presented clearly and gently, easy for kids to understand and follow along.

To be honest, L(age 4) had very little interest in this DVD at first.  The animation is cute and colorful, but is not as “advanced” as that in many other children’s DVDs. And though the stories are acted out, the action is very calm and simple. In addition, though L loves when I read to him, he wasn’t used to DVDs that rely so much on narration. Personally, I didn’t find anything wrong with animation or presentation, but it just didn’t hold his attention as much as some other DVDs, such as the Veggie Tales line.

However, as L has gotten older, he’s been enjoying the DVD more and more. Just the other day, we were watching it together and he was asking me for more specifics about some of the Bible stories. At age 4.5, he pays attention for the entire DVD and enjoys all the segments.

Chad and I currently teach the four-year-olds at our church and I could see this DVD being very useful in a Sunday School setting. The short segments would be perfect for illustrating individual Bible stories and would be just the right length for a group of preschoolers. I think younger kids would struggle to feel engaged by this DVD, but kids age 4-6 would be perfect. At home, the Read and Share DVD Bible would make a nice supplement to family Bible reading.

I see that since we first received this DVD, Thomas Nelson has re-done the series, so if you’re interested in checking out the Read and Share Bible DVDs, you might want to start with Read and Share: The Ultimate DVD Bible Storybook – Volume 1, which includes both a book and a DVD and covers more than 100 Bible stories.

Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review and Giveaway: JumpStart.com

The JumpStart name is not new to me. When my now-tween was a preschooler and kindergartner, we owned several JumpStart software programs and enjoyed the educational games and activities they offered. So when I was asked if our family would like to try out the new browser-based “virtual world” of JumpStart.com, I didn’t hesitate to say yes.

JumpStart.com is just that — a “virtual world” where kids (recommended ages: 3-10) can explore, learn, and have fun.  When a child first enters the world of JumpStart.com, they’re asked to create a “Jumpee,” which is essentially an avatar.  They can modify their Jumpee’s appearance, clothing, and name. Once the Jumpee is created, the kids are off to explore.

(Note: One thing that I appreciated is that it’s impossible for a kid to use their own real name as the name of their Jumpee. Instead, kids pick a first name from a set list and then assemble a silly last name by combining two words from other lists. In the end, kids end up with something like Seth ShinyComet.)

Here’s where the fun begins. There is just so much for kids to explore on JumpStart.com. Controls are simple and intuitive — kids can use the mouse or arrow buttons to move around the virtual world. Then they can enter buildings or specially themed areas where they will find a multitude of games and adventures.

L.(4) began his adventure by checking out Uncle Milton’s Amazing Science Land, where he learned about ants, the earth, and outer space. Other fun spots (to name just a few) include: MarineLand, FutureLand, Speed Drome, and Brain Training Arcade. Activities include everything from letter- and number-based arcade games and giant slides to buggy racing and scavenger hunts.

Kids can earn “coins” from completing various activities and can then use those coins to purchase in-game items (such as clothing, house parts, etc.).

There are two things that L. has enjoyed the most about JumpStart.com. The first is plain old exploring. He loves to go from one area to the next, just to see what there is to see. The bright colors and inviting activities keep him entertained and curious.

The second is a section called the Enchanted Sanctuary, where kids can “raise” a pet Mythie. They feed the Mythie, play with it, care for it, make sure it gets plenty of rest, and eventually get to take it to a special training area. L. loves to check in on his Mythie to see how it’s doing and to spend some time “playing” with it.

Overall, even though we still haven’t had a chance to check everything out, we’ve had a lot of fun with JumpStart.com. L. enjoys the games and though I certainly wouldn’t call every activity “educational,” there is a lot of opportunity for kids to learn.

In the interest of complete honesty, there are a few things I did not like about JumpStart.com:

1. I didn’t think everything accessible by the younger set was entirely age-appropriate.  For example, one music video kids can watch at the Movie Theater includes lyrics like “I’m watching the boys walk by, I wanna talk to them but they won’t say hi.” and “I met a boy who was wild and free; I loved that boy but he didn’t love me.” Not exactly something 3-5 year-olds (or, for that matter, 6-10 year-olds) need to be watching and listening to, in my opinion.

2. I ran into the expression of some scientific theories as straight-out fact, an approach I wish they hadn’t taken. Theories should be identified as theories.

[That said, I think it's a good reminder that we should never just sit our kids down in front of the computer and let them play without supervision. It's important for parents to monitor what their kids are doing on the computer and especially online.]

Would you like to try out JumpStart.com?  The nice folks at Knowledge Adventure have provided a three-month membership for me to give away to one of you! With an account and membership, you can set up profiles for up to six kids, explore the virtual JumpStart world and all its many games and activities, and download free games to your computer (PC only). If you’re interested, just leave a comment on this post. I’ll randomly choose a winner from among the comments next Monday (October 18th).
Disclosure: I was provided with a JumpStart membership at no cost by Knowledge Adventure in order to test the products’ abilities and give my own personal opinions on it. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but were not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

This giveaway is now closed.

The Long-Awaited Bacon Bar Review

So here’s how this whole thing started: Last summer, I heard that some county fairs were serving chocolate candy bars with bacon in them. Um…yuck.

A quick Google search revealed that fancy chocolatiers are also selling bacon bars. My initial thoughts? Though chocolate should be a required food group (in my opinion), and though bacon is a fantastic accompaniment to any breakfast…the two should probably keep their distance from each other. They just weren’t made to go together.

I blogged, briefly, about these thoughts, and one of my commenters had the audacity to dare me to try a bacon bar. Hmph. I don’t take every challenge thrown down before me, but I certainly consider challenges involving chocolate… And after much contemplation, and a fair amount of chocolate consumption that didn’t involve bacon, I decided to give it a try. I placed my order, and last week it arrived: Mo’s Bacon Bar.

It sat on the counter for several days. Did I really want to do this? C. kept eying it up; Chad asked when I was going to try it. And finally, last night, I gave in and we conducted:

The Bacon Bar Taste Test

First step: Examining the package. The back of the box tells the story of the founder of Vosges Haut-Chocolat (don’t ask me how that’s pronounced), and the steps that led her to create this bizarre intersection of chocolate and bacon. She began her story by reminiscing about eating bacon along with chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast when she was 6 years old. Hm… I suppose I could see that happening; and I suppose it wouldn’t be too horrible to have a bite of pancake with a bite of bacon.

But the kicker? Her name is…..Katrina. Yep. I’m not kidding. Was this a sign?

And she signed her story with “Peace, love and chocolate, Katrina.” Hm. Including chocolate with her sign-off shows that she’s got good sense, right?

Second step: Extracting the foil-covered bar. I pulled the bar out of the box in which it came. And sniffed. Nothing. The foil packaging was well-sealed. So at the very least, this would be a fresh candy bar, even if questionable in contents.

Third step: Revealing the candy bar. Out it came. Smooth milk chocolate. No weird chunks of bacon sticking out. That’s good. I sniffed again. Definitely something there. Chad and C. said they could immediately smell bacon. I wasn’t sure. I smelled something…something salty. But it didn’t have an overwhelming bacon-y aroma.

Fourth step: Finding a guinea pig. Just in case it turned out to be really gross, I decided to force allow C. to be my guinea pig. He was more than happy to try the first square of Mo’s Bacon Bar. And I was more than happy to catch him on tape. A few things you might notice about this video: 1) Apparently, my camera is highly sensitive and picks up all kinds of eating noises. Turn down your audio if this will gross you out. 2) Yes, Max & Ruby is on in the background. This was to ensure that we could perform the taste test with minimal interruption from a certain 2-year-old.

Fifth step: Trying the bacon bar. C. hadn’t collapsed. In fact, he had enjoyed his square of bacon bar. So I took a deep breath, handed my husband a square, took a square for myself…and bit in.

Chocolaty, yes… Salty, yes… Wait a minute, there’s a sliver of bacon. That feels weird. But doesn’t taste horrible. In fact, I think it tastes okay. Not too bacon-y, but that’s a good thing.

Chad said he definitely tasted bacon. I’m not sure I did. I’m not saying I didn’t taste any bacon, just that it didn’t taste like I had taken a slab of bacon and stuck it on top of a chocolate bar. It was more subtle. A touch of salt, a savory lingering… but primarily chocolate. Good chocolate. And that’s always a good thing.

Sixth step: Sharing with the toddler. By this point, L. had realized that we were eating something. Something that was not vegetables or chicken. Something…that looked yummy. “Some, Mommy! Some, please!!” I gave him just a teeny corner, not sure what he’d think. Well, here’s what he thought: “More, Mommy! More, please!!”

Our final evaluation: The Bacon Bar is not nearly as weird or yucky as I had initially imagined. In fact, it tastes rather good. I don’t know if I’d pick it over a chocolate bar involving caramel or cashews or almonds, but I wouldn’t turn it down if someone offered one to me. My only (minor) compaint was that coming across bits of bacon while I was chewing was odd. A crunchy nut is fine and welcome in chocolate bars, but a chewy bacon bit would take some getting used to. The rest of my family, however, would go even further in their praise: Chad, C., and L. all thoroughly enjoyed Mo’s Bacon Bar, and I didn’t have any trouble finding takers for the remaining candy bar squares.

Product Giveaway: Dial Complete

“Did you wash your hands?”

I usually ask C. (9) that question about 15 minutes after he gets home from school. And by now — a few weeks into the school year — he knows to expect it, and often beats me to it by informing me that yes, he washed his hands already.

I’m all for letting kids build up a healthy immune system by catching the occasional cold or other bug, but when there are constant rumors of strep throat, stomach bugs, and other yucky germs taking over the school, I’d just as soon keep the germs that make it home to a minimum.

And don’t even get me started on all the reasons for having antibacterial soap in your house when there’s a 2-year-old around. Let’s just say that I often find myself yelling saying, “No! Keep your hands out of there!” I’ll leave it up to your imagination as to where “there” is. (Hint: “there” includes multiple locations…including a certain box used by a cat, a certain “throne” found only in a few rooms in the house, etc.)

So when Dial offered to send me a sample of their Dial Complete (the “Soothing White Tea” version), I certainly didn’t turn it down. I’m taking their word for it that Dial is a superior germ-killer (C. hasn’t caught any of the rumored diseases yet this year, so that’s definitely a good sign), and I really like that Dial Complete has lotion in it. The worst thing about instant antibacterial gels is that they completely dry out my skin; Dial Complete doesn’t.

Dead germs, healthy kids, and smooth hands? Sounds good to me.

Dial recently launched their “Campaign for Clean Hands” program and I encourage you to check it out. In addition to a fact sheet and printables for kids, they’re offering kids a chance to win a trip to Washington D.C., plus $1000! All kids have to do is make a creative, short (15-30 second) video presentation on “why clean hands are important” and submit it on the program’s website. Full instructions can be found at the Campaign for Clean Hands site, so click on over.

While you’re at the site, check out the upper-left corner. Yes, there’s a germ-fighting game (DC Germ Blaster). It’s vaguely reminiscent of the old Asteroids arcade game and I’m not going to tell you how long C. I spent blasting germs the other day.

BUT WAIT. Before you leave to play the game check out the contest, I have a giveaway. Dial has offered to send one of my readers 1 full case of Dial Complete. That’s 8 standard pump bottles! Surely enough to stock your house and kill many, many germs.

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment on this post between now and noon (EST) on Sunday. I’ll announce the winner Monday morning. (U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only.)