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Laridian Website – Planned Outage

Posted on: August 4th, 2015 by Craig Rairdin 2 Comments

Updates are at the bottom of this article…

We are making some changes to our internet presence that will cause certain website and PocketBible services to be briefly unavailable today (Tuesday, August 4). There will be a significant outage for about 3-4 hours starting at 8AM CDT, followed by diminished performance for a period of time after that before full service is restored, hopefully as soon as Wednesday.

Affected Services

All commerce, product registration, and account updates at the Laridian site (and at our in-app stores) will be disabled during this outage.

PocketBible will be unable to connect to the Laridian Cloud during this time and won’t be able to sync your user data. Your data won’t be lost; it just won’t get sync’ed to the Laridian Cloud. As soon as Cloud services are back online, any changes you made during the downtime will be uploaded.

You should be able to download books that you have previously purchased during this time.

You will be able to make purchases through the Apple App Store but you won’t be able to download those products until after the maintenance outage is over.

Commerce at our Theophilos Bible Software subsidiary will also be unavailable. Downloads at that site should still be functional.

Cause

Laridian operates services on a variety of servers located at more than one hosting company. From time to time we move these services to new locations either to enhance their capability or to save money or both. We are generally able to do this in a way that minimizes or eliminates downtime. In this case, we are moving our database server, which stores almost everything of importance at Laridian including your customer account, transaction history, user-created data (notes, highlights, and bookmarks), and all our books.

It isn’t possible in this case to make this transition without actually stopping all updates to the database, copying the data to the new server, and restarting it at its new location. During this brief time, we can’t do any operations that cause the database to change, or we risk losing those changes (i.e. they get written to the “old” location after the database has been moved to the “new” location).

We have already tested this process and are confident that it will run smoothly.

Interim Effects

There will be a brief period of time after the database move where the communication between our website and the database server will be suboptimal. During that time, performance of the website, sync server, book server, etc. will be affected. We will be restoring those services to full speed in the hours immediately after the move.

Benefits

Once this whole process is complete, we expect enhanced performance of the website and all the aforementioned services. Security of all of these services will be increased. And despite the more powerful hardware on which this will all be running, our costs will be lower. This will allow us to continue to produce Bibles and reference materials at prices at or below what you’ll find elsewhere.

We appreciate your patience with us during this move.

As we have updates, we will post them here.


Updates

PocketBible for Windows users: Sync services will be shut down at 7:30 AM to give ample time for in-progress syncs to finish before 8AM.

PocketBible 1.x.x for iOS users: Sync services will be shut down at 7:30 AM to give ample time for in-progress sync to finish before 8AM. If you got a message while trying to sync that said “You’re running a very old version of PocketBible“, it’s because you’re still using version 1.x and we’re currently on version 3. To upgrade, first sync (not just backup, but sync) your user data with the server after this maintenance is over. Then search the App Store for PocketBible. The program is free. Download and run it. Register using the same customer ID and password as you have been using, then turn on automatic synchronization under Manage My Data in the menu. The program will pick up your notes, highlights, and bookmarks and you’ll just have to download your Bibles and reference books.

Book downloads should remain available. We were unsure of this when we first posted this article. The article has been updated to reflect this change.

Theophilos Bible Software website commerce will also be down during this time. The article has been updated to reflect this.

What’s in the Pipeline?

Posted on: July 27th, 2015 by Craig Rairdin 56 Comments

We often get asked about what we are working on. While you can be sure we are always working, and that our work probably involves some version of PocketBible, we understand you may be interested in a more detailed explanation of what is going on behind the scenes. It is in that spirit that we are going to try something new with an occasional post on what’s in the pipeline for apps and books.

You’ll notice we don’t talk about release dates. We’ve been in this business for a long time and have learned that our best-laid plans often go awry. In fact, in the software business, that’s the rule rather than the exception. So we don’t spit into that wind nor tilt at those windmills. We’re pursuing the goals you see below at our best pace and will release new books and updates to our apps as soon as they’re ready.

Apps

  • PocketBible for Android – Version 1.4.4 is current. Includes support for upcoming BookBuilder improvements with respect to user-created Bibles.
  • PocketBible for iOS – Version 3.2.3 was released on June 1, 2015. We are currently working on some enhancements to the user interface and changing the way we do text-to-speech to make it easier to manage and less expensive.
  • PocketBible for Mac OS X – Version 1.1.5 with support for some upcoming BookBuilder improvements and minor new features was released on April 9, 2015.
  • PocketBible for Windows Phone – Send us your suggestions for enhancements.
  • PocketBible for Windows Store – Send us your suggestions for enhancements.
  • BookBuilder for Mac OS X – Version 1.0.0 was released on 3/6/15. Currently working on some in-house features and better support for user-created Bibles.
  • BookBuilder for Windows Desktop - We’re about done refreshing the Windows version to improve the user interface, improve the integration between the various tools that make up the Professional Edition, and bring it into feature parity with the Mac version.

Books

Here’s what our editorial team has in the queue for you (not in any particular order):

  • Additional volumes of the Ancient Christian Commentary Series (IVP)
  • The Applied New Testament and Old Testament Commentary (Cook)
  • Wesley Study Bible (Abingdon)
  • NASB Bible text Updates
  • Tree of Life Version (TLV)
  • More non-English Bibles (?)

Miscellaneous

In addition to the above we’re currently migrating our entire internet presence to a new hosting company. This takes a significant amount of effort and will cause some brief periods of time when the site will be either slow or entirely shut down as we migrate massive amounts of data from the old servers to the new ones. The benefit to you when we’re done will be additional security and speed. It will also cut our monthly internet service bill in half, which will help us keep our prices the lowest in the industry.


 

Disclaimers: All this is subject to change in priority, feasibility, copyright licensing, etc. That means we reserve the right to never release these features or books. We are sharing with you the current plan which is written in sand, not stone. Also, just because something is not on this list doesn’t mean we are not considering it. Finally, we are open to your requests, suggestions and comments!

King James Version: Red Letters and Paragraphs

Posted on: July 23rd, 2015 by Craig Rairdin 5 Comments

Title_PageBack in October, 2014 we updated our King James Version text. We had taken some criticism for publishing a low-quality edition of the text which couldn’t seem to be traced back to any known edition of the KJV.

Red Letters

When we published that version, we intentionally left out the “words of Christ in red” feature, because the whole goal was to get to a pedigreed version of the text and red letters were not a part of the KJV text until relatively recently.

This didn’t go over well with folks who rely on red ink to know when Jesus is speaking. So we did more research to see if we could come up with an “authoritative” red-letter edition of the KJV on which to base our editorial decisions. To our surprise, we found one.

In 1899, Louis Klopsch (1852-1910), editor of The Christian Herald, was writing an editorial for his magazine when he read Luke 22:20: “This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” It struck him that a New Testament with Christ’s words written in “blood” would be both useful and highly symbolic. He approached his mentor, Rev. T DeWitt Talmage with the idea, and the men agreed, “It could do no harm and it most certainly could do much good.”

Klopsch Red Letter BibleRight away they discovered that the KJV contains no quotation marks to delineate those words spoken by Jesus and separate them from those of the narrator or other characters in the story. It also occurred to them that there are instances in the Old Testament where it is believed that Jesus appeared to the Old Testament saints and spoke to them. Should those words be in red? What about the words of Jesus when spoken by others in the book of Acts or the epistles?

Klopsch had to make a few choices (such as in John 3:16ff) about where Jesus’ words end and the narrator’s begin. He opted to omit Old Testament christophanies, but to include New Testament quotes in red. The first red-letter New Testament was published in 1899, and an entire Bible, containing the red-letter New Testament, was published in 1901.

Laridian was able to obtain a 1903 New Testament and a 1913 whole Bible, each with Klopsch’s original red-letter text. The New Testament claims an 1899 copyright and the whole Bible, 1901. From these well-used pages we manually marked up our electronic text to indicate the words of Christ.

Paragraphs

Soon after publishing our updated KJV last year we realized that the text we had worked from did not contain paragraph indicators of any kind. With a little effort we were able to find a source of that information that is consistent with the age and quality of the text itself, and have integrated that information into our text.

The King James Version has historically been printed with each verse starting on a new line, and a pilcrow (¶) marking the start of a new paragraph. We have followed that tradition, which means that in versions of PocketBible that allow you to display the text in paragraph form or one verse per line, you will always see the KJV text presented with each verse starting on a new line.

While some might argue that this format is jarring to the modern reader, we would point out that that KJV itself is “jarring” to the modern reader. We think there is great value in upholding the publishing traditions that add to the unique character of the King James Version of the Bible, and are very happy with the results of this effort to update our version of the text.

Most PocketBible users will see a note on the “Add/Remove Books”, “Cloud Library”, or “Download Books” screen in PocketBible to the effect that the KJV and KJV with Strong’s Numbers texts have been updated. Select the updated product to download it to PocketBible. Windows Desktop users will have to download the setup program for the KJV or KJVEC from the Downloads area of our website.

Don’t Panic! Gay Satanists Are Not Corrupting Your Bible

Posted on: July 15th, 2015 by Craig Rairdin 13 Comments

Recently we’ve heard from a few customers who have seen a post on Facebook suggesting that someone is out to corrupt the New International Version (NIV) and English Standard Version (ESV) Bibles, and that they need to act quickly to make sure they archive a copy of the “real” Bible before gays and satanists ruin it. The post usually looks something like this:

PAY ATTENTION PEOPLE!!

I’m sure you know that NIV was published by Zondervan but is now OWNED by Harper Collins, who also publishes the Satanic Bible and The Joy of Gay Sex.

The NIV has now removed 64,575 words from the Bible including Jehovah, Calvary, Holy Ghost and omnipotent to name but a few… The NIV and ESV and other versions have also now removed 45 complete verses. Most of us have the Bible on our devices and phones.

Try and find these scriptures in NIV or ESV on your computer, phone or device right now if you are in doubt:

Matthew 17:21, 18:11, 23:14; Mark 7:16, 9:44, 9:46; Luke 17:36, 23:17; John 5:4; Acts 8:37

…you will not believe your eyes.

Let’s not forget what the Lord Jesus said in John 10:10 (King James Version)

THE SOLUTION

If you must use the NIV or ESV BUY and KEEP AN EARLIER VERSION OF the BIBLE. A Hard Copy cannot be updated. All these changes occur when they ask you to update the app. On your phone or laptop etc. Buy and KEEP EARLIER VERSIONS AND STORE THEM.

There is a crusade geared towards altering the Bible as we know it; NIV and many more versions are affected.

This is a variation on the claims that newer Bibles remove verses from the “original” (by which they usually mean the King James Version). But in this version of the panic-inducing message, the argument is that the newer versions themselves are being updated, purportedly by the gays and satanists at Harper Collins, to remove verses and change words.

The fact of the matter is that updates have been made to these two Bibles. Ongoing updates are often made by the translators of all modern Bibles to address errors in previous editions, changes in language and usage, and to incorporate a better understanding of the original Hebrew and Greek texts. This is not unusual; even the King James Version was updated for these purposes during the early years of its existence.

With respect to the NIV, Zondervan, and Harper Collins, it’s important to note that the text of the NIV is actually maintained by Biblica, formerly the International Bible Society, a ministry that translates the Bible into dozens of languages and distributes it freely throughout the world. Zondervan is their commercial publishing partner, but Biblica maintains the text, just as they do their other Bibles. So despite the claims of this Facebook post, Harper Collins is not changing the text.

The ESV is an update to the Revised Standard Version (RSV), which itself was a revision of the American Standard Version (ASV). The ASV was an “Americanized” edition of the Revised Version (RV), which was a late-19th-century update to the King James Version. Coincidentally, the ASV was originally published by Thomas Nelson, which today is owned by the same parent company (Harper Collins) that owns Zondervan.

With respect to the complaints about the ESV, given its history one is compelled to question which earlier version the author would have us revert to. This is not made clear. In fact, there is very little clarity in the Facebook post.

We’re frankly disappointed that so many people are sucked in by claims like this. I suppose it could be true that there is a world-wide conspiracy by homosexuals who are in league with satanists to corrupt the Bible. I don’t think the author argues that point very well, if at all, but I suppose it could be possible. I think it’s more likely that an uneducated person who is ignorant of how Bible translation works and of the history of the Bible noticed that both his NIV Bible and his copy of the Joy of Gay Sex were published by Harper Collins and decided everyone on Facebook needed to know about it.

Interested in learning more about the history of the Bible, the original texts and manuscripts from which it is translated, why certain writings are included while others are not, how it is translated, and some information about the various English translations of the Bible over the years? Check out The Origin of the Bible by Dr. Philip Comfort for PocketBible.

This updated volume of the original classic provides a fascinating overview of how the Bible was first inspired, canonized, read as sacred literature, copied in ancient Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, and eventually translated into the languages of the world.
The Origin of the Bible is a comprehensive guide to the origin and development of the Bible text, manuscripts, and canon. This updated edition provides a chapter on recent developments in Bible translation.

An excellent resources for pastors, Bible teachers, seminarians and any student of the Bible (i.e all Christians), this book provides a wealth of information about the historical development of the Bible.

 

PocketBible 3.2.3 for iOS Now Available

Posted on: June 2nd, 2015 by Craig Rairdin 5 Comments

PocketBible iOS IconApple has approved PocketBible 3.2.3 for distribution on the App Store. This version is a minor update intended to fix a few problems mainly on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. (We’re just going to pretend that 3.2.0 never happened.)

The new iPhones have larger screens. PocketBible has absolutely no problem with larger screens. In fact, exactly the same code runs on the iPad and iPhone. PocketBible asks iOS how big the screen is, then proceeds to fill it. Apple, however, has to protect you against apps that assume that the only possible size the screen can be is one of the known sizes as of the date of release of the app. So when we ask iOS for the screen size, it lies to us and tells us the size of the iPhone 5 screen. Then it multiplies the pixels by 1 + a small fraction and blows our user interface up to fill the screen.

The result of this “lie and blow up” strategy is a blurry app, as you can see on the left, below (click for full resolution).

PocketBible on iPhone 6

On the left is version 3.1.0. On the right is 3.2.3 (misidentified as 3.1.1 in the picture above). Version 3.2.3 jumps through the magic hoop that tells iOS that we understand the larger screen size. The “hoop” consists of using a different method to display the “splash screen” that appears when you launch PocketBible. When iOS sees we are using this method, it knows that we must know about the iPhone 6, so it stops lying to us about the size of the screen and allows us to use all the pixels on those great new displays. As you can see, the screen shots were taken just two minutes apart. It’s literally the same PocketBible code displaying non-blurry text. (Can you tell that this frustrates me a bit? I’ll post a link in the comments with more ranting about this if you’re interested.)

One nice change in this version is that you can change the password on your account without being forced to delete your books and your user-created data. The previous version believed you were trying to log into a different account, so it forced you to delete your books and answer some hard questions about your notes, highlights, and bookmarks before it would continue. The new version realizes all you have done is change the password, so it doesn’t ask you to do any of that.

If you DO log into a different account, it will still ask you to do something about your user data so that it doesn’t get corrupted by being sync’ed to a different account, but it isn’t as insistent that you do it right away.

This all being said, you shouldn’t be switching user accounts. If you think you need to bounce between user accounts, talk to us so we can figure out what you need and solve it correctly.

Behind the scenes, PocketBible 3.2.3 is now using https: connections to talk to the server for all connections, not just the ones where personal data like passwords are being transmitted. This takes advantage of some security changes we’ve made at the site in the last few months and makes all your data more secure than it needs to be.

The App Store on your device will notify you about the update, or you can just go get it now.

Here’s the full list of new, enhanced, and repaired features in 3.2.3:

New Features

  • Recognize and take advantage of the increased screen size of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus instead of allowing iOS to scale the screen, which caused text to be blurry.
  • Support “custom Bibles” from BookBuilder which specify custom versification by referencing existing versification schemes. (Reader Engine version 1.073.)

Enhancements

  • Allow the Font / Size / Brightness setting window to rotate to landscape and to fill the full width of the screen.
  • Allow user to change password without forcing them to delete books and user-created data (notes, highlights, bookmarks, etc.).
  • Allow user more affirmative control over disposition of user-created data when logging into a different Laridian customer account.
  • Use https: connections throughout, even though no personal data is being transmitted.
  • Do a better job selecting italic and bold/italic fonts with families that support heavy, bold, demi, semi, medium, etc. variants.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed a bug that caused text-to-speech reading to stop at an empty verse.
  • Table heading tags were getting filtered out of notes.
  • Opening a devotional with no existing start date would create a start date, overwriting the existing start date that might not have yet been sync’ed from the Laridian Cloud.
  • Fixed a memory leak when displaying lists of bookmark categories.

PocketBible for iOS is Back in the App Store

Posted on: June 2nd, 2015 by Craig Rairdin 25 Comments

PocketBible iOS IconIt appears this story is old news now. 3.2.3 is available on the App Store. A few of you are still upgrading, so I’ll keep the article here for a while.

On May 18 we submitted PocketBible 3.2.0 to Apple for approval. On Thursday, May 28 they approved it and by Friday night it was being downloaded by our users.

When I saw it was available for me to download to my iPad, I updated my personal copy. I got the message I expected, that my data needed to be updated. I went to Manage My Data as instructed but there was no response from the program. I quickly hooked my iPad up to my laptop and ran the program in the debugger. It turned out the Manage My Data screen was being built, but as soon as it was displayed, it was being dismissed by iOS so the user never saw it.

I tried deleting and re-installing to no avail.

During this process, Facebook notified me of some messages from a couple people who I know to be active PocketBible customers. When I visited Facebook I found there were several users having the same experience I was.

I posted a status update to our Facebook followers instructing them not to download the update to their iPads (the program was working fine on my iPhone). After a few more minutes of testing I realized there was no way to work around this and that I was going to have to stop it from being distributed. Unfortunately, Apple does not offer an immediate “off” switch. I pulled the app from the App Store but it would take 24 hours to fully take effect.

I posted a message on the home page of www.laridian.com and wrote a blog article to explain what I knew about the problem. I set up a response on our tech support ticket system that pointed affected users to the blog article for more information. I pulled the update announcement I had made on Thursday from Facebook and our blog. I posted a status update on Facebook pointing to the blog.

Over the next five or six hours I tracked down two related problems in the Apple code. I was able to fix one of them fairly easily because the 15 places in the code that were affected were all in the same file (or, for you programmers, the same class).

Other problems were related to UIAlertView (messages that pop up in the middle of the screen, usually with an “OK” and a “Cancel” button) and UIActionSheet (windows that pop up from the bottom of the screen and contain a simple caption and a column of buttons). I found these to be used in 294 places in the code. Each of these instances had to be reviewed to see how to best work around the problem. In some cases, I changed the implementation to use an alternative method of doing the same thing. But in most cases there was no better alternative.

After doing some research on the Web (programmers use a site called stackoverflow.com to confer, converse, and otherwise hobnob with their fellow wizards) I found a good work-around that required only a simple change to the code in about a dozen places.

By Saturday afternoon I was ready to put the program in the hands of some beta testers. I posted a call for testers on the blog and on Facebook. I knew this would be tough going into Sunday morning, but I got a small number of testers from around the world to run the program through its paces. (I apologize to my fellow church members for taking a few minutes during the announcements to pull out my laptop, add three new beta testers to the provisioning profile, re-sign the program and upload it to the website.)

Interestingly, the only problems they found were bugs that have probably been in PocketBible since version 2.0 or maybe earlier. I made some effort to fix those but under the circumstances didn’t want to take more time than necessary to get the program back up on the App Store.

By Sunday evening, about 48 hours after discovering these debilitating bugs, I was ready to upload the program to the App Store. At the same time, I filed a request for expedited review with Apple. It took them 10 days to review the last version; they’ve taken as little as 2-3 days in the past. I was hoping they’d agree to expedite it, because even after it was approved it would take 24 hours to propagate to all of Apple’s servers. Apple approved the expedited review on Monday morning and an hour later the app itself was approved.

By Tuesday morning everyone was seeing the update (version 3.2.3) and reporting that it was working.

I apologize for the inconvenience. Here are a few FAQs:

What are the symptoms? “Manage My Data”, “Shop for Bibles and Books” and many other menu items don’t do anything. This is especially problematic, since the program tells you that you need to go to “Manage My Data” to update your data due to the program itself being updated. But Manage My Data doesn’t work. Other selections, such as “Copy Passage” and “Register Now” cause the program to crash.

Version 3.2.0 seems to be working on my iPhone. Should I be worried? The problem seems to be limited to the iPad.

Should I remove the program from my iPad? No. When you download the fixed version (3.2.3), it will overwrite the bad version and everything will still be there (books and user data). It is OK to leave it installed and even run it. It’s just that certain functions are disabled. You might also have it crash if you interact with any pop-up choice boxes like the registration prompt. Just leave it installed for now.

Why does PocketBible require you to go to Manage My Data anyway? Previous versions of PocketBible tried to maintain the integrity of your user data (notes, highlights, bookmarks, etc.) by detecting when you have logged into a different account, then asking you to say how you wanted to handle your existing data with respect to the new account (i.e. replace your local data with the data on the server or merge your local data with the data on the server). Unfortunately, it assumed that simply changing your password meant you were logging into a new account. This new version of PocketBible uses the same technique as PocketBible for OS X, which records the customer ID you use when you sync your data, then compares that customer ID to the one you are logged into. That way you can change your password or even log out and log back in, and PocketBible won’t get confused. Since the old version did not keep track of your customer ID, and since you may have logged in with your email address instead of your customer ID, PocketBible has to log into your account and ask the server for your customer ID. This is quick and painless — unless you can’t get to Manage My Data to do it!

I’m a programmer. What’s really going on? Apple changed the way that UIPopoverController, UIAlertView, and UIActionSheet dismiss their views. In each case, we previously could assume that after dismissing those views we could display another modal view or otherwise act as if the view was gone (whether it was actually gone from the display at this point is irrelevant — I know that takes another cycle through the run loop). But some recent update to the SDK made it so that dismissing UIPopoverController resulted in any modal view displayed after that to be dismissed along with the requested UIPopoverController.

UIPopoverController does not notify its delegate when it is programmatically dismissed, only when it is dismissed by a tap outside its view. So we have no way of knowing when it is done. There are various techniques to discover whether or not the view has been dismissed. I chose a very simple polling technique that doesn’t make assumptions about whether or not it takes only one pass through the run loop, as other solutions do. For UIAlertView and UIActionSheet, I changed the delegate method I use to act on a button press from the “button pressed” delegate method to the “dismissed with button press” delegate method. This assures that the view has been dismissed before we continue.

 

PocketBible 1.4.2 – New Navigation, History and more!

Posted on: April 15th, 2015 by Michelle Stramel 6 Comments

PocketBible for Android version 1.4.2 has been released to the Google Play Store. If you downloaded the app from Google Play, you should be automatically updated. If you are using a Kindle Fire (or other non-Google Play device), you can download the latest version by browsing to http://lpb.cc/android while on your device.

The new version 1.4.2 update adds a Book Navigation Assistant (bottom toolbar) to the app. This new toolbar includes the following new and previously-released options:

  • Backward/Forward – the separate left and right pointing arrows will take you backward and forward respectively through your movements in the app.
  • NEW! Recent Verses – the list/clock icon will give you a list of recently visited verses and allow you to return there by choosing the verse reference.
  • NEW! Bible/Commentary Sync – the stacked arrows icon will immediately sync your verse-indexed books, such as Bibles and commentaries, to the same verse.
  • NEW! Strong’s Numbers On/Off – the Omega icon will toggle Strong’s numbers on/off in your open Bibles that contain them.

The new bottom navigation bar can be hidden along with other toolbars by double-tapping the screen. Your toolbars can be set to optionally show/hide this way via Settings | Control Settings in the PocketBible app.

Additionally, cross-references will now be reported in search results (where applicable) as “Referenced Here.”

New to Advanced Features! For those who own the Advanced Feature Set, a new library search option is now available on the overflow menu that lets you search all your downloaded books at once for a word or phrase. We have also added the option to turn off My Special Offers notifications in the Control Settings.

The PocketBible Bible Study App for Android is free. The optional Advanced Feature Set can be purchased at the Laridian web site or inside the app for $9.99.

Two Ways a Topical Bible is Better than Searching

Posted on: April 7th, 2015 by Michelle Stramel 6 Comments

Topical Search

One of the main benefits of PocketBible is being able to locate things quickly in the Bible. The GoTo feature in PocketBible takes you directly to a specific book | chapter | verse in the Bible. For the times you don’t already know the location, you have the Search feature. Just put in a few words or a phrase and PocketBible will present a list of possible matches.

But what if the item you are looking for is not actually mentioned in the Bible (e.g., Trinity)? Or there are different ways to describe it (e.g., marriage and betrothal)? PocketBible can get you there!

Finding the Un-Mentioned

When you know something is mentioned in the Bible but you can’t find it with a PocketBible search for the exact word(s), consider using a topical Bible like Nave’s Topical Bible (a free resource). Nave’s leads you to the applicable Bible verses for over 20,000 topics. For example, a search for the word trinity will bring up zero hits in your PocketBible Bibles but exploring this topic in Nave’s will lead you to dozens of related Bible verses.

Finding the Indirectly Mentioned

Sometimes a search will bring up some of the verses you are looking for or it may bring up different verses in different Bible translations. An example would be if you were interested in finding all the verses about marriage. If you use the Find feature to locate the word “marriage” in the NIV, you would find 46 verses. Search for it in the KJV and you find 18 verses. In the NASB, it’s 32 verses. Why the difference? Each translation may use a different word or phrase to describe marriage for various verses. Instead of “give me the girl in marriage” it may say “give me the girl as my wife.” Thus, the results of a word search will vary depending on the translation.

With a topical Bible, you are reviewing the entire topic of marriage without respect to how the verse is phrased. The topic of a particular Bible verse is going to be exactly the same no matter which Bible translation you are using. Even though the descriptive words may be different, the topic stays the same.

A topical Bible like Nave’s presents topics along with all the related verses. The Nave’s topic for “marriage” is further divided into 26 subtopics. Each sub-topic includes links to verses. And related topics such as divorce, husband and wife are also referenced and linked.

In addition to Nave’s Topical Bible, the following topical Bibles and similar titles are available for use with PocketBible.

If you find Nave’s or the other topical Bibles helpful in your studies, we’d love to hear how! Please share in the comment section below.

Which PocketBible Bible is Right For You?

Posted on: March 17th, 2015 by Michelle Stramel 12 Comments

There are many reasons to choose a specific translation of the Bible. People often use what their pastor or church recommends. For many people, the Bible and King James Version (KJV) are synonymous. In fact, Christianity Today reported last year that the KJV is still the most popular and fastest growing Bible translation.

While we provide the King James Version for free with PocketBible, there are many other translation options available. One of the major features of PocketBible is the ability to compare translations or create your own parallel Bible. Thus, you don’t have to be limited to one translation as you are with a printed book. This makes it easy to look at how a verse is worded in multiple translations to gain insight into its meaning.

Which Translation is Best?

Bible translations are usually categorized as to whether they provide a “word for word” translation from the original manuscripts (most accurate) or more of a “thought for thought” translation (easier to read). While the “best” translation will always be somewhat subjective, you can still find the one that is “best” for you. In addition to comparing translations for insight, you may find that you like one translation for your Bible reading and prefer another for study purposes.

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BookBuilder – Create Your Own PocketBible Books

Posted on: March 12th, 2015 by Craig Rairdin 2 Comments

BookBuilderIcon512Laridian BookBuilder gives PocketBible users the unique ability to convert virtually any electronic text into a book that can be read by PocketBible on any of our supported platforms. Whether you want to have access to any of the tens of thousands of public domain Bible reference texts you an find on the Web or you want to create original reference materials from your own studies of the Bible, BookBuilder gives you the ability to view them side-by-side with your other PocketBible Bibles and books using the same tools we use in-house to create the add-on Bibles and books you can buy at our site.

Laridian has long had a commitment to creating an open ebook ecosystem, starting with our founders’ involvement in the creation of the only industry-wide binary standard for Bible software, the Standard Template for Electronic Publishing (STEP) in 1995, and in the definition of the Open eBook Publication Structure (OEBPS) in 1999, which later became EPUB. When it became clear that a common binary standard for Christian publishing was politically impossible and that OEBPS/EPUB wasn’t interested in extensions to support Bibles and Bible reference materials, Laridian went in a different direction: Releasing as a commercial product the tools needed to create electronic books for its readers.

While most Bible software companies provide some method for Christian publishers to convert large quantities of text to their proprietary format (often for thousands of dollars per title), Laridian is one of the few (maybe the only) commercial Bible software companies to offer an end-to-end publishing solution for everyone from individual PocketBible users to multinational Christian publishing houses — and to do it for only $49.99.

BookBuilder is available for both Windows (desktop) and now for Mac OS X. The Standard edition ($19.99) contains the ability to convert tagged text to a Laridian Book for personal use. The Professional edition adds two additional tools, DocAnalyzer and VerseLinker, and gives you the option of creating a book that can be sold or given away to other PocketBible users (including hosting your book on our server for easy distribution to users of our iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Windows Store, and Mac OS X versions of PocketBible who download books from within the program). In addition, the Mac version allows users to launch PocketBible on each successful build of their book for easier proofreading.

User-created books live side-by-side with Laridian PocketBible reference books and have all the same features as the books you purchase from our site. You can do sophisticated word and phrase searches, synchronize your user-created commentary to scroll alongside your Bible, look up words in your own dictionary, link to the Bible or other reference books from within your books, etc.

As an individual user of PocketBible, you might consider these uses for BookBuilder:

  • Convert your PocketBible notes into a commentary. You can log into your account at our website and download a fully tagged version of your Bible notes that is ready to be converted into a commentary for PocketBible. You only need the Standard edition of BookBuilder to do this.
  • Convert reference material you find on the Web into a PocketBible book. This could be anything from your pastor’s sermons to classic Christian reference material that is in the public domain. The Standard edition of BookBuilder will work for this, though the additional tools in the Professional edition come in handy when working with files that you did not originally author using the BookBuilder tagging format.
  • Create books for distribution to others either for free or at a price of your choosing. Unlike other Christian ebook publishing solutions, there is no royalty paid to Laridian on sales or distribution of your books. You’ll need the Professional edition to do this. Note that this doesn’t mean that Laridian will sell your books, but rather that you can sell them. You can host them on our server for easy distribution, but they don’t show up in our catalog.

Books you create for PocketBible have to contain special tags that tell us how to format the book. The basic tags are what you would recognize from HTML: <b>…</b> for bold, <p> and </p> around paragraphs, etc. To those we add some special tags to tell PocketBible what kind of book it is (commentary, dictionary, etc.) and to define the book’s table of contents (which we do using HTML heading tags, not a separate table-of-contents file as you might see in some other electronic publishing formats). You do all this using your own text editor, then run the text through BookBuilder to create a Laridian Book (LBK) file. This file is then copied to the appropriate location on your device or desktop computer so that PocketBible can find it.

If you’re going to distribute your books, you’ll need the Professional version of BookBuilder. Once your book is finished and proofed, you send it to us and we’ll assign it a unique publisher ID and book ID so that it can co-exist with other books in users’ Laridian library without interfering with other books there. We’ll host it on our server and tell you how to authorize other PocketBible users to download it. This authorization is normally done manually (you log into your account and manage your books from there) or it can be automated if you have the ability to write the appropriate script for your website to send us a special command via HTTP POST. It should be noted that most people can’t do this. Generally if you’re not already confident you can do this as you read this, you can’t. But the capability is there if you need it.

You can read more about BookBuilder here:

Here’s an introduction to the Mac OS X version of BookBuilder:

I record these videos in my kitchen; hence the folk art painting in the background. :-)

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