Faithlife Study Bible (ITS FREE!)

I’ve been a pretty huge fan of the NLT Study Bible – and still am…but the Faithlife Study Bible by the folks over at Logos is garnering some of my attention as well.

Logos is primarily known for its Logos Bible Software – some of the premier software for academics and ministry “professionals” studying the Scriptures.

Faithlife Study Bible's Beta Logo.
Faithlife Study Bible’s Beta Logo.

The Faithlife Study Bible (FSB) isn’t a book you can purchase – rather it is available digitally – on the web, on iOS, Android, or the Kindle Fire. It integrates with Logos Bible Software and Vyrso eBooks – so anywhere you can use these, you can use it.

What I love about the FSB – and what I’ve been saying needs to happen for some time now – is that the FSB keeps growing. It isn’t a static entity. They are constantly adding new resources and notes to the Bible!

Ohh, and did I mention the Faithlife Study Bible is free? Yup, no strings attached, free. They are giving away 2.5 million copies – which I hope is a “gimmick” to get folks to download it now and that when they hit 2.5 million copies that they will continue to give it away for free…It would actually make business sense for them to do so imho, as individuals who come to love the FSB will be much more likely to purchase their Logos and Vyrso products.

And in fact, the stinkers make the FSB a non-annoying advertising tool for their Logos products already. You get tons of information in the FSB, but if you want an even more in-depth look at a topic they link out to various resources they have available that contain more in-depth information – but those you have to pay for. See, sneaky…but a great way to win new customers – and they aren’t giving a crappy product away just to get additional product purchases – the FSB is a robust resource in and of itself.

So what exactly does the FSB include? First off, it uses the Lexham English Bible (LEB) as the underlying bible translation. This translation is part of Logos’ publishing arm – which creates “digital first” products. The LEB is a new English translation of the Scriptures. The LEB is included free with FSB, but the FSB can be used with other translations as well (including the ESV, KJV, NKJV, NRSV, NASB95, and NIV2011).

It currently includes (and remember, this is always expanding) over 240 photos of biblical locales, over 35 videos, and over 120 infographics, timelines, and tables…and let me tell you, these are not you sub-par infographics, timelines, etc. one finds littered across the internet!

It also includes the Lexham Bible Dictionary (another “digital first” publication by Logos) which has over 2,700 articles on a variety of biblical topics.

There are a bunch of other features I haven’t explored too much – including some powerful community options to facilitate group study of Scripture (e.g. by a church or small group). Hopefully this has been enough to whet your appetite – go get your free copy of the FSB now. You won’t regret it.

Looking for an Alternative?

On a semi-frequent basis I am asked by individuals for recommendations on software programs that they can use for some purpose. I have a fairly large knowledge of software applications – but as the years pass, the ability to “stay on top of” even the major products in most categories has become difficult if not impossible…this is where AlternativeTo comes in (and can serve as an alternative to talking to an IT geek like me if you don’t have one lying around).

AlternativeTo Logo
AlternativeTo Logo

AlternativeTo allows you to type in the name of a piece of software in the category you are researching and it will then display that application’s information along with alternative options.

I use AlternativeTo almost every time I’m looking for a new application. It makes finding the major alternatives easy – and it makes gauging their popularity easy as well.

AlternativeTo doesn’t just cover Windows applications – it includes categories for Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, Linux, Web-Based, Blackberry, and Chrome OS.

If you are interested in what applications I like, you can see my profile here:

Now, go give it a try. Its easy, its free, and it is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. 🙂


The State of IP (Web-Based Thermostats) 2013 Edition


In June of 2011, nearly two years ago, I wrote an article summarizing the state of IP (web-based) enabled thermostats. I revised this article in April of 2012, over a year ago. Now, it seems appropriate, to create a new post reflecting the state of IP enabled thermostats in 2013.

This article will include all information still relevant from the older article along with new information regarding developments from 2012 until now.

I welcome comments regarding this post including:

  • Any IP based thermostats I may have missed.
  • Your experiences with various IP based thermostats.

Without further ado…

The Selection


  • Offers 24% cost savings on heating and 21% on cooling as compared to leaving thermostat fixed on 72 degrees.[1]
  • I was unable to find an RSS feed using Feedly to keep up with ecobee’s blog…That is a big no no!
  • Offers solutions for home and business.
  • Website is very nice, apps, etc. appear well-finished – but no noticeable distinguishable features at consumer level, though business units offer administrative flexibility beyond that found in home units.
  • Prices appear to start around $200 and go up.
  • Conclusion: Might be worth considering for larger building where administration controls are needed, otherwise, seems neck-and-neck with competition.
Images of ecobee's thermostat and remote management.
Images of ecobee’s thermostat and remote management.

Radio Thermostat

  • Two different models are available direct from Radio Thermostat – the CT80 ($250) and the CT30 ($140).
  • Requires either a “C” or “Common” wire or an external power adapter.
  • 3M used to rebrand/resell these under the Filtrete brand via Home Depot, but appears to have stopped doing so.
  • They also lack an RSS feed (or even a real blog), the website design is outmoded, and the devices are not as slick as competitor options. That said, they do have online and public forums.
Radio Thermostat's WiFi thermostat.
Radio Thermostat’s WiFi thermostat.


  • Has a blog with RSS feed.
  • One of the oldest IP thermostat manufacturers.
  • Pricing is not available on the website.
  • Used to have residential solutions, but there is no mention of them on the site anymore.

Bay Controls

  • Site is pretty horrific.
  • No blog.
  • Installs in 30 minutes.
  • No recurring costs.
  • Has an iPhone client.
  • Looks to have significant customizability but at cost of user friendliness, a geek’s friend, but perhaps not for the average consumer.
  • Pricing starts at $220.
Bay Controls' Scary Geeky Thermostat
Bay Controls’ Scary Geeky Thermostat

Network Thermostat (Net/X)

  • Receives disappointing site award alongside Bay Controls.
  • Offers web-based and PC based management software which looks nice and feature-filled.
  • The web management console is a server built into the device, no cloud services.
  • Pricing starts around $450.
  • Offers special pricing for non-profits.

Intwine Energy

  • Company website was slow, consumer facing site appears to be down.
  • Most recent press release is from 2011.
  • Wouldn’t recommend due to lack of activity on site, though devices look fine.

Nexia Home (Formerly Schlage LiNK)

  • Appears to be rebranded via American Standard and Trane.
  • Offers the advantage of also supporting cameras, lighting, locks, and sensors.
  • Monthly fee of $9.
  • Utilizes Z-Wave technology, not WiFi per say.
  • Pricing starts at $150 for just the thermostat, but you’ll also need a bridge. A bundle is available for around $230.
  • No blog.
Nexia's Thermostat, Bridge, and Power Bundle
Nexia’s Thermostat, Bridge, and Power Bundle

Nest Thermostat

  • Created by former Apple folks, has gotten a lot of the recent press and consumer love.
  • Website and device appear beautiful.
  • Has partnered with energy utilities to offer the device for free if you sign up for select providers (only available in some states).
  • Has a blog, including RSS feed.
  • Devices are available from Amazon as well as Lowes and Home Depot.
  • Price is $250.
  • This system does not require a C wire.
The beautiful Nest thermostat.
The beautiful Nest thermostat.

Enphase Energy

  • Seems like Enphase is moving away from focusing on intelligent thermostats and focusing more on solar panels?
  • Uses the ZigBee protocol and thus requires a bridge device.
  • Website is slick and has a blog with RSS.
  • Only sells via distributors, no pricing easily available.


  • Offers both residential and commercial solutions.
  • Offers the Surveyor product which allows for HVAC, lighting/electrical, and mechnical systems monitoring.
  • Claims (for Surveyor) “Go Green for No Green” (no cash up front, no capital expense, cash flow positive from day one). Didn’t see details on this program.


  • Has a blog, but no RSS.
  • Appears to work only through utilities.


  • No blog.
  • Appears to work through utilities.


  • Offers the ComfortLink and ComfortLink II – both of which are web enabled.
  • The Nexia branded home thermostat starts at $150.
  • Thermostats are full color (except Nexia).

LockState Connect

  • Pricing starts at $170 for IP thermostat.
  • Ongoing monthly costs of $.99 for basic services for first device or $1.98 for premium (this includes email/sms alerts). Additional devices are $.99/mo.
  • Uses WiFi, not ZigBee or Z-Wave.
  • Also supports cameras, locks, and power strips.
  • No blog.
  • Requires a “C” wire, but also supports a 24VAC transformer.
Nexia's Thermostat, Bridge, and Power Bundle
Nexia’s Thermostat, Bridge, and Power Bundle


  • Full color available from $250 from Home Depot, monochrome from $120 for button-based and $150 for touchscreen. Appears slightly better pricing is available via Amazon.
  • All of these units require a “C” wire. If you have an older home/business you may not have this wire run to your thermostat. There are instructions on how to check on the website. It is quite unfortunate, there WiFi-less models have batteries that allow them to operate without the “C” wire, but these apparently don’t.
Full Color Honeywell WiFi Thermostat
Full Color Honeywell WiFi Thermostat
The Monochrome Honeywell Touchscreen WiFi Thermostat
The Monochrome Honeywell Touchscreen WiFi Thermostat
The Button-Based Monochrome Honeywell WiFi Thermostat.
The Button-Based Monochrome Honeywell WiFi Thermostat.


  • Used to offer the Hunter Universal WiFi Internet Thermostat for $100, but it has been discontinued.


  • Offers the icomfort Wi-Fi Touchscreen Thermostat.


  • Requires a hub ($130~).
  • Pricing starts at $150 for thermostat.
  • Also supports lights, dimmers, switches, cameras, security, sprinkler and so on.
  • No blog.

Residential Control Systems (RCS) Technology

  • Has Z-Wave, ZigBee, and native WiFI thermostats.
  • Products are monochrome
  • No blog.

Evolve Guest Controls

  • Thermostats start at $150.
  • Monochrome.
  • Has a blog with RSS.

2GIG Technologies

  • Uses Z-Wave.
  • Pricing around $150.
  • No blog.



I’d be hesitant to utilize anything that runs over Z-Wave, ZigBee, or Insteon. I think WiFi is the wave of the future – but that might just be me. What do you think?

The Nest, LockState Connect, and Honeywell options look the most attractive to me. I just signed up with a new energy utility and they are sending me a free Nest…so that is what I’ll be using at home.

  1. [1]Not that anyone with a programmable thermostat does that anymore.