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Dec 3, 2013 David Lang

Thankful for my Remarkable Accordance Family

Last week, we brought our largest team ever to the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL). While Accordance is based in Orlando, Florida, many key members of the Accordance team—including trainers, developers, marketing personnel, and associate scholars—are scattered across the United States and even throughout the world. These folks all telecommute really effectively, but we decided to use ETS/SBL as a pretext for getting many of them together in one place. For that reason, we actually brought more people to work the conferences than we really thought we would need.

SBL13

I was a little worried that with so many hands on deck, we would have Accordance staff standing around our booth with nothing to do, but the Accordance booth was so consistently busy that boredom was never a problem. I did lots of demos to new Accordance customers, many of whom were Windows users excited about finally having access to Accordance without the need for an emulator. The demos I enjoy the most are the ones where a Ph.D. student comes with a specific research need, or a professor comes with a new class they're preparing to teach, and they want to see if Accordance can help them. When they see what Accordance is capable of, it is not uncommon for their jaws to drop, their eyes to light up, or even for them to laugh involuntarily.

One of my favorite things about working the Accordance booth is the way our team of demonstrators works together to meet people's needs. It is quite common for one of us to begin a demo and then get asked a very specialized question: "Can you show me the new Hebrew Masora Thesaurus?"; "Is there a way to do this search using the MT-LXX Parallel?"; "Can you teach me how to create my own custom maps with the Atlas?" If this question is one that could better be answered by someone else on our team, the demonstrator will not hesitate to ask for help. The scholar with the MT-LXX search had three of us working on his problem before we finally came up with a solution, and he left feeling very well taken care of. The thing I love about this dynamic is the complete lack of ego among our team members. No one is afraid to ask for help. No one is tempted to try to fake their way through a demo. Everyone's focus is on finding the solution the customer needs, and I think people leave our booth knowing we truly care about the work they do.

LittleItaly

On the last night of SBL, our entire team enjoyed a wonderful company dinner at a restaurant in Baltimore's Little Italy. After dinner, we each said a few words about how we thought the conferences had gone. As I listened to each person's comments, I was struck by the degree to which each speaker was praising other members of the team—including team members who hadn't come to the conference. When someone mentioned that this year's brochure was really helpful, several people began praising the behind-the-scenes team members who had prepared it. When we discussed the excitement among some scholars over our new Masora Thesaurus, we were told about the remarkable scholar who had produced it, and the incredibly talented developer who had compiled the module. I never cease to be amazed at how quick my coworkers are to praise one another.

A few days later, I was back home with my family enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving. Among the things I'm most thankful for is the fact that I get to work with such amazing people who function more like a family than a mere company.


 

Oct 17, 2013 David Lang

A Seminar for Every Accent!

As a native of Central Florida, I grew up around a wide variety of accents. Of course, I knew plenty of people who spoke with a Southern accent, such as my great-great-uncle, Havis, who is the only man I ever let address me as "Sugar Boy"! (Somehow it didn't sound weird when he said it.) I also knew plenty of northern transplants who said things like "you guys" instead of "y'all" and who spoke of "soda" or "pop" instead of "Coke" (down here any soft drink is a "Coke"). Less often, I would run into people with a Texas accent or even a Bahamian accent.

In the next few weeks, several Accordance trainers, including myself, will be fanning out across the United States to offer seminars for folks who speak English very differently.

  • Next Saturday, October 26th, I'll be at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina.
  • Also on Saturday the 26th, we'll be offering a seminar at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in the Boston area. (We just can't get enough GCTS!)
  • On Sunday the 27th, we'll do a second seminar in the Boston area at Brandeis University.
  • On Saturday, November 2, we'll be at Redeemer Seminary in Dallas, Texas.
  • On Monday, November 4, we'll be at Dallas Theological Seminary in…well, you know.

For more information about each of these seminars, go to this page. To register, just send an email to seminars(at)accordancebible(dot)com and let us know you plan to attend.

As you can see, whether you talk fast or slow, with a drawl, a twang, or a broad A, Accordance has a free training seminar (or two) coming to your area. And if you're in the Charlotte area next Saturday, I look forward to meeting you. Just please don't call me "Sugar Boy"!


 

Nov 13, 2012 David Lang

Headed to Milwaukee and Chicago

It's that time of year again! This week the Accordance team will be converging on the cities of Milwaukee and Chicago for the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) and Society of Biblical Literature (SBL). While I'll be missing ETS for the first time in many years, I'll head to Chicago later this week to teach an Accordance training seminar and to help out at SBL.

If you'll be at those conferences or in those cities, there are several opportunities to meet Accordance staff and to learn from Accordance experts. Here's a rundown of where we'll be and what we'll be doing:

ETS Conference (Nov. 14-16): Look for us in Exhibit Hall B of the Frontier Airlines Center in Milwaukee. We'll be in booth #238.

Free Training Seminar in Chicago (Nov. 16): On Friday, while the rest of the team is breaking down the ETS booth and driving down to Chicago, I'll be teaching a seminar at Moody Bible Institute. If you're in the Chicago area and would like to attend, we'll be in room 319 of the Sweeting Building from 9 am to 5 pm. As with all our seminars, you're welcome to come and go as your schedule permits. To register for the seminar, e-mail us at seminars(at)accordancebible(dot)com. I hope to see you there.

SBL Conference (Nov. 17-20): You'll find us in Exhibit Hall F2 of the McCormick Place Convention Center’s West Building. We'll be in booth #539. As always, our booth is sure to be both large and extremely active.

The Accordance Booth at SBL 2010

Accordance Reception (Nov. 18): Want to come socialize with us in a more relaxed setting? We'll be hosting a reception in Suite 1879 of the Chicago Hilton from 7:30 to 9:30 pm on Sunday, November 18. Eager young students are finding that this is a great opportunity to network with top scholars—and just think how impressed they'll be that you're already using Accordance!

So there you have it. We have a busy week ahead of us, but it's always fun to put faces to names and help people get the most out of Accordance. If you can join us at any of these events, we look forward to seeing you!


 

Aug 29, 2011 David Lang

When the Trainers Got Trained

BerkeleySeminar If you've ever been to an Accordance training seminar, you know it can feel a little like drinking from a firehose. Rest assured that it's nothing compared to what many of those trainers went through a few years ago. Back then we invited prospective trainers from around the country to come to Orlando for two days of intensive Accordance instruction. Rather than giving them some script to follow in teaching a seminar, we made it our goal to make sure they became real Accordance experts. After all, a big part of leading a training seminar involves answering people's questions, and we wanted our trainers to have that ability in spades.

One of the things I remember about that two days of training is that we spent a lot of time going through every panel of the Accordance Preferences dialog. Now, when I'm teaching a training seminar, I'll open the Preferences and show a few options during the course of the day, but I don't have time to go through the preferences systematically. I'm too busy teaching people how to use Accordance's countless features. Still, if you really want to figure out how to customize Accordance to your specific needs, you would do well to explore the various settings in the preferences.

Maybe take one panel a day and explore its options. If you don't understand what something does, click the Help button for an explanation. You'll be amazed at some of the advanced ways you can tailor Accordance to your own particular needs.

In the next several posts, I'll highlight a few options I think every Accordance user should be aware of. Until then, are there Preference settings you've found particularly indispensible? If so, please let us know in the comments.

Oh, and if you're among the privileged few who experienced that trainers' training seminar in Orlando, feel free to reminisce about what you took away from it.


 

May 12, 2011 David Lang

Seminars Near and Far

What do Sydney, Australia and Greenville, South Carolina have in common? Both cities are hosting free Accordance training seminars this weekend. If you're Down Under or near the Palmetto State, be sure to check our Seminars and Shows page for details of how to attend.

Our team doing the Australia seminars has actually spent the last month doing seminars in South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. You can read a detailed report of this whirlwind tour of the Far East here. Now they're teaching several seminars in Sydney over the next week as well as one in Perth later this month. After that, I imagine they'll collapse from exhaustion!

Knowing that we don't make it to Australia all that often, Accordance-using Aussies are pretty well packing those seminars. One student even confessed on twitter that she was attending an Accordance seminar even though she had been too sick to attend classes!

Although South Carolina is a lot easier for us to get to, we really haven't done too many seminars there. In the past, you South Carolinians have had to travel to Atlanta or Charlotte to attend a seminar, so this is your chance to attend one in your own backyard.

Once again, if you'd like to attend any of these seminars, or to see where else we've got them scheduled, be sure to check our Seminars and Shows page.


 

Mar 21, 2011 David Lang

How is an Accordance Demo Like a Court of Law?

This past Saturday I co-taught an all-day Accordance training seminar in Palmyra, New Jersey (near Philadelphia). Our host, Pastor Wes Allen of Central Baptist Church, went above and beyond the call of duty and freed us from having to worry about nearly every logistical detail. (He even lent us his brand new iPad 2!) Wes somehow also found the energy to preach the next morning, and I'm hopeful he managed to get some well-earned rest Sunday afternoon.

Whenever I teach seminars, I joke that doing a software demonstration is a bit like being a lawyer. Just as a lawyer should never ask a question he doesn't already know the answer to, a demoer is unwise to show a search he isn't already certain will work. Unwise as it is, I inevitably do it several times during the course of every seminar I teach.

On Saturday, for example, I came up with an example of a FUZZY search which completely missed the verse I had in mind. Apparently my remembrance of the verse was exceptionally fuzzy! Fortunately, a sharp user helped bail me out with a version of the search that did work.

Thankfully, Accordance is so instantaneous when it comes to delivering search results that my occasional rabbit trails into searches I've never done before don't end up bogging down the entire seminar. That may be why I keep giving in to the temptation to try new things: in most cases they work, and where they don't, the results are delivered so fast it is easy to recover.

Our software designers are sticklers for writing fast, efficient code. They do it not so that you'll be wowed by Accordance's speed, but so that you won't ever have to think about it. When results are nearly instantaneous, that encourages you to try new things: to pose new questions and to explore new lines of thought. Knowing that, we work hard to keep the speed of the software from ever getting in your way.

After all, studying the Bible is nothing like being a lawyer: you're supposed to ask questions to which you do not already know the answer.


 

Mar 7, 2011 David Lang

Join Me in Jersey, Not Far From Philly

A week after I get back from Israel, I'll be heading up to Palmyra, New Jersey, just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to teach an all-day Accordance training seminar. It will be held at the Central Baptist Church of Palmyra, and you can find all the details, including how to register, here.

In addition to being an enthusiastic Accordance user, Wes Allen, the pastor of that church, teaches a method of using visuals in sermons which he calls "sermon painting." Wes was kind enough to let me use him as an example of effective presentation in my book, Macs in the Ministry, so I'm excited to finally meet him in person.

I should also be flush with stories about how I used Accordance during my tour of Israel. I'll do my best to focus more on Accordance than on all the amazing things I've seen here, but don't be surprised if you get a few Israel-related examples during the seminar. :-)

If you haven't yet attended an Accordance training seminar, be sure to watch the Seminars and Shows page for a list of those we have scheduled. We're also doing one at Hebrew University in Jerusalem in a couple weeks, but alas, I won't be here for that one. No matter who teaches them, these seminars are perhaps the quickest way to learn how to use Accordance more effectively. If you're anywhere near Philly on March 19th, I look forward to seeing you there.


 

Jan 26, 2011 David Lang

Accordance in Minneapolis and San Jose

Today I spent a little time with my two-year-old at a local park while two of his siblings were at their music lessons. It was a glorious day: the sun was shining, it was a little on the blustery side, and it was just warm enough to be comfortable without a jacket. The park we went to is situated under a canopy of oak trees which still have most of their leaves. As I enjoyed chasing my son around the playground, I found myself wondering why I'm leaving all this to go to Minneapolis, Minnesota this weekend.

As a native Floridian, I don't even own a heavy coat. I was an adult before I ever saw snow, and even then it was nothing like I expect to see in Minnesota. I was hoping the coworkers I'm traveling with would have more experience than I have driving in ice and snow (none), but alas, they do not. So if you see a rental car sliding through the streets of Minneapolis, there's a good chance it contains the Accordance team!

So why are we leaving the Florida sunshine to brave the winter snows? We'll be doing a free Accordance training seminar on Saturday and then exhibiting at the Desiring God Pastors' Conference. The Desiring God National Conference takes place in October, but for some reason, they make the pastors assemble in the middle of winter. Perhaps it's a way to weed out the fair-weather pastors?

It sort of reminds me of how men's Bible studies are scheduled. For some reason, every church I've attended schedules the men's Bible study around 7:00 am on Saturday morning, or even earlier on a weekday. What's up with that? Because we're men, we have to prove how spiritually devoted we are by getting up that early? Isn't that called getting up at an "ungodly" hour anyway? So as I see it that's the worst time to have a Bible study!

Okay, all kidding aside, I'm prepared to brave the snows and even to get up early to help those of you in the Midwest become Accordance power-users. All I ask is that you don't think me wimpy if I can't stop shivering!

In addition to Minneapolis, we're also sending a team to San Jose, California. They'll be doing a seminar at Western Seminary on Monday. If you're in the Bay area, do your best to make it there. Those presenters should have no trouble with excessive shivering.

If you'd like to sign up for either of these training seminars, I believe there's still a little room left. Check the Seminars and Shows page for details.