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Archive for the ‘Industry Commentary’ Category

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

Posted on: July 15th, 2015 by Craig Rairdin 14 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:


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)


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.)


  • 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.

Does It Matter Where Your Bible App Comes From?

Posted on: February 5th, 2015 by Craig Rairdin 12 Comments

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 12.08.58 PMTrevor McKendrick is an atheist who wrote one of the top-selling Bible apps for iOS. A former Mormon, McKendrick saw an unserved niche market on the App Store and created a Spanish audio Bible to fill it. Now he’s banking over $100,000 per year selling the app. He compares the Bible to Harry Potter and describes Christians as people who learn the spells in the book and try to use them to heal their children. He compares them to people who teach The Lord of the Rings as real history.

Does it make any difference whether or not the people who create the products you use for Bible study agree with the materials they publish?

When I started writing Bible software in 1988 there were very few other products on the market. I purchased the King James Bible from Public Brand Software, a distributor of freeware and shareware programs for MS-DOS. While browsing their catalog (paper catalog — this was before the Web) I saw a Bible program called WordWorker and picked up a copy of that, too.

WordWorker was pretty impressive compared to other programs available at the time. My problem with it was that the programmer who wrote it was associated with The Way International, which denies key teachings of historic Christianity and adds a few of their own. They encourage severing ties with family and friends and living with other “believers” instead, which many argue qualifies them as a “cult”.

Coincidentally I had been unsuccessfully recruited by a member of The Way while in college. Noticing a strange-looking guy observing me playing pinball at the student union, I struck up a conversation and bought him a couple games (he had never played pinball). He invited me to join his “twig fellowship”. As a brand new Christian with very little foundation in the Bible, I struggled with figuring out if this was God’s direction or not. Fortunately I dodged that bullet, and got involved with a local church that had a strong emphasis on the Bible and Bible study, which is what eventually led me into developing Bible software.

It was difficult to get excited about using WordWorker because I felt like I was supporting a cult. Even if it coincidentally met my needs, it was hard to recommend to others or even use enthusiastically because I knew where it came from. One benefit of using Bible software that comes from a person with whom you share a common faith is that you don’t have to feel guilty about supporting something with which you disagree. You and I may not agree on every fine point of doctrine, and we may not share a common worship style preference, but I bet we’re closer to agreeing with each other on the fundamentals of the faith than you would be with an atheist.

I originally wrote my Bible study software as a tool for myself to use. Its features were designed to meet my needs, which I obviously knew well. I didn’t have to do any research to figure out what people who read the Bible wanted; I wrote what I wanted.

I took my Bible program (QuickVerse) to Parsons Technology in 1988, where, over the next ten years, I employed a couple dozen different programmers. Not all of them were practicing Christians, but they were good programmers. Jeff Wheeler (who would later leave Parsons with me to start Laridian) and I led the development of the program. Both of us were Bible-believing Christians who were not just developers, but users of the program.

Having real Christians write your Bible study app guarantees that it is designed to meet the needs of someone who really studies the Bible.

Parsons Technology was not a “Christian company”. It was a plain-old software company that happened to have a Church Software Division that published church management and Bible study software. Parsons was eventually purchased by Intuit (1994), which sold us to Broderbund (1997), which was purchased by The Learning Company (1998), which was purchased by Mattel (1999), which sold the Church Software Division to a dormant company that was rumored to have previously been a booking agency for Las Vegas acts (2000). During those years we were faced with a number of demands from our pagan overlords that compromised the quality of QuickVerse. They saw “unserved niches” on store shelves and wanted us to create products that were just old versions of QuickVerse with a new cover. They weren’t interested in meeting needs, but in making money.

This was the final straw for me. When it got to where creating Bible software was about duping people into buying old versions of our program at a cheap price because BestBuy or Costco was looking for 25-cent CD-ROMs to fill an end-cap, I bailed out and started Laridian in 1998.

Our goal has always been to focus on our customers and our product, not on creating a company to sell to the highest bidder. The features and reference materials you see in PocketBible come from customer feedback (and from our own needs as our product’s first customers). We bristle at doing things like renaming our product “@Bible” so that it pops up first in alphabetic search results on the App Store, or calling our program “Bible App” to cause it to come up first when you do a generic search for a Bible app, or seeding the store with identical products, all with different names, so it appears more often in your search results. This is what marketeers do to trick people into buying shoddy products. We aim for letting the quality and usability of our apps speak for themselves.

So another benefit of having real Christians write your Bible study app is that they’re not just seeing you as a rube who will spend their hard-earned money on a quickly thrown-together, shallow product, but rather they are committed to creating not just one download but an ecosystem of products that will meet your Bible study needs not only today, but for years to come.

I don’t have a doctrinal test for people with whom I do business, but I expect my Bible study materials to come from people who are as firmly committed to the Bible as I am. It’s not that they’re the only ones who I can trust to create useful products, but it is at least more likely that they’re doing a better job.

A Couple Security-Related Issues

Posted on: April 11th, 2014 by Craig Rairdin 6 Comments

HeartbleedJust a couple brief comments  on two unrelated security issues. You’ve probably heard about the Heartbleed vulnerability that affected many websites this week. For some reason, the media didn’t mention that the affected servers are running Linux. (There are issues with certain programs running on other servers, but the primary impact was for those sites running Linux-based servers.) They’re quick to jump on Microsoft when it comes to security flaws in Windows, but I guess Linux doesn’t get the same treatment. Weird.

Anyway, we run Windows servers here and don’t appear to be affected by Heartbleed. This blog is on a Linux box, but there’s nothing valuable here except for my rambling a on various topics, and those are only mildly worth stealing.

Coincidentally, we were working on another security-related issue when we heard about Heartbleed. A few of you have given us grief in the past for sending password reminders in email. While your Laridian password doesn’t expose any personal information of import, except perhaps your mailing address — which is widely available elsewhere — it was still disconcerting to see your password show up in clear text.

So we’ve made some changes now so that we don’t send out passwords but instead send a link to a page where you can reset your password.  This should provide a little more security, especially if you’re in the habit of using the same password everywhere. :-)

PocketBible and iOS 7

Posted on: September 20th, 2013 by Craig Rairdin 62 Comments

This week brings the release of iOS 7 from Apple. As this new version of the operating system rolls out to more and more devices we’re beginning to hear from you about what’s working and what’s not. I want to take a minute to tell you how to work around the one problem we know about, then tell you what we’re doing to fix that, then tell you what I think about all this. Since that flows from absolutely important to “who cares?”, you can stop reading as soon as your questions are answered.

“Go To Verse” on the iPad

iOS 7 removed a feature of “popover views” (the box that pops up out of the toolbar to show you our “go to verse” buttons) that allowed developers to specify the size of the contents they were putting in the view if that size changes after the initial contents are placed. As a result, after you choose a book, the view gets resized to its default size, and the chapter buttons get cut off.

There are two work-arounds for this:

  • Press the button in the upper left corner to go back to the list of books and choose your book again. This little bit of magic seems to break Apple’s concentration and they quit trying to resize the view.
  • Choose a different go-to method for the time being. To do this, go to the Settings menu, scroll down to Program Settings, and choose a different Bible Verse Selection method. There are two other than the book/chapter/verse buttons that are the default: The Calculator method and the Spinner method. Of the two, the spinner is the easiest to use and is less quirky. Choose the Spinner and work your way out of the Settings menu. Next time you choose Go To, you’ll see the Spinner instead of the buttons.

There are other small cosmetic issues you may or may not notice as you use the program. We don’t know of anything that affects the actual function or usability of the program beyond the one mentioned above.

What We’re Doing About It

While developers have had access to beta versions of the iOS 7 developer’s toolkit for several months, we’ve found in the past that you can waste a lot of time chasing the changing specifications of the new version of the operating system if you start your work too early. For iOS 6, many developers were stunned to discover the apps they developed and uploaded to the App Store using the final beta version (which was approved by Apple for submission to the App Store) did not function correctly on the final released version of iOS 6. They had to scramble to make changes. So with all this in mind, and after reviewing the new features in iOS 7, we decided to wait until we had a version of the developer’s toolkit that was closer to final.

We’re working on version 3.0 of PocketBible, which will be fully iOS 7 compatible. Most of the changes we have to make are user interface related. That is, tweaking colors and behavior of the UI to match the new, flat look of iOS 7. There are several new features in PocketBible 3, but these have been in beta for a few weeks now and are in pretty good shape. In particular:

  • Advanced Feature Set – New Features
    • Journal Notes allow you to take notes that are not associated with any particular Bible verse.
    • Assign names to your highlight colors.
  • Features in the Standard (Free) Version
    • Autosync feature allows you to synchronize your user data (notes, highlights, bookmarks, etc.) with the Laridian cloud automatically in the background while you continue to work. Manual sync is still available if you prefer.
    • Synchronization speed is improved.
    • Added underline styles (underline, dotted, and dashed) to the list of highlight choices.
    • Display one verse per paragraph (start each verse on a new line).
    • Support iOS swipe gestures to delete notes, highlights, bookmarks, etc. from lists of those items.
    • When deleting a bookmark category, the bookmarks themselves are deleted (instead of being moved to “uncategorized”
    • Added “Email Passage” and “Text Passage” to the list of “Passage Actions”.
    • Various speed improvements and minor bug fixes.

This version of PocketBible will be uploaded to the App Store soon. We’re still working through all the issues brought about by the release of iOS 7. In the meantime, the only thing you really need to do is change your go-to-verse method.

So What Do We Think About All This

One of the frustrations with our industry as a whole and Apple in particular is the pace at which it changes. Most of the changes in iOS 7 that affect us are cosmetic. Apple has decided that it’s their user interface, not their limited availability and high price, that negatively impacts their sales. So they spent a lot of time turning everything flat, gray, and translucent. Many of those changes are applied to programs automatically, but not all of them are implemented well.

For example, in the intrest of transparency, the system status bar (the signal strength indicator and clock across the top) is now transparent. That’s great, but our app is used to a solid status bar and would never bother to put anything behind it. Now, since that bar is transparent, the OS tells us it isn’t there and tricks us into writing under it. So when the status bar is laid over top, it just is unreadable since it’s either black or white text on top of a white page of black text. So we had to take the time to create a little colored rectangle to put under the status bar so you can see it.

While changing the look of table views (those lists of contacts, appointments, settings, etc. that you see all over iOS), they decided the headings between groups of choices should ALWAYS BE UPPER CASE. So it looks like THE PHONE IS YELLING AT YOU all the time. Furthermore, they limited the text to six lines without documenting the limit nor truncating the text. So it’s possible for text to flow over the list items. This would be fine if they provided a way to say DON’T YELL AT ME but they didn’t. So we had to implement custom text views to put in those locations.

This is all characteristic of a philosophy that has little sense of history or the importance of supporting existing apps, existing versions of the OS, or existing hardware. For example, PocketBible 3 will be compatible with iOS 5 devices, but you won’t find much, if any, mention of iOS 5 from Apple. I know people running iOS 4 and 5 who just never bother to plug their device into their PC/Mac to download updates. It’s working for them, so why bother? I’m typing this blog article on a PC running Windows XP. It works great. Why upgrade? Apple doesn’t understand this idea. They assume everyone rushes out and buys a new phone every year or two, or they at least upgrade the operating system every time an update is available.

As a result of this blindness to the past, it’s not unusual to discover that something is broken in the OS and it’s just never going to get fixed. For example, we depend on a particular method being called (viewWillDisappear:) when one of our “dialog boxes” is dismissed. I found out yesterday that iOS 7 breaks that rule (it’s been around since version 2) in certain cases. As a result, instead of one programmer at Apple fixing one bug, it creates millions of bugs in hundreds of thousands of apps, and each of those hundreds of thousands of programmers has to take an hour or two to figure out how to work around it. Apple doesn’t care because programmers who start programming new apps tomorrow will never know any differenc and will always code as if viewWillDisappear: won’t always be called, and they are the only ones who matter.

It’s as if Apple has incubation pods where they harvest new programmers. They pull them out of their drawer and they start writing code with no sense of what came before. A year later, after working 24×7 with no sleep, they are recycled to feed the next batch, which are harvested just in time to release the next unnecessary update to the operating system.


We’re still in the process of making changes, but this is just a couple little things we’ve run into in the process of moving PocketBible to iOS 7. We think you’ll like PocketBible 3 when we’re done, but it’s going to take a couple more weeks to get there. In the meantime, change your go-to-verse settings and 2.0.6 will continue to work fine.

What is your ideal size for a mobile device?

Posted on: January 24th, 2013 by Michelle Stramel 33 Comments

The other day I got in an unexpected discussion with my 14-year old nephew about iPad minis. Like most 14-year old boys, he is an expert on all things electronic. He informed me that when he heads to high school next year, they will each be given an iPad by the school. He then mentioned he was glad it was not an iPad mini because he finds them to be worthless devices with no purpose for existence. He feels the mini is the wrong size for anything meaningful. Too small to replace a laptop. Too big to carry around. And definitely the wrong size to play games on.

I own an iPad and iPhone. I haven’t even held the mini let alone considered purchasing one. However, I have been drooling over the Galaxy Note to replace my iPhone for many months (so long in fact that the Note I wanted has become the Note II). Bottom line, I want a bigger phone. From Twitter to PocketBible, I like the bigger screen size of my iPad yet I don’t want to lug it around everywhere. So the solution in my mind has been to get a bigger phone like the Note.

Today I came across this article on ZDNET by Matt Baxter-Reynolds, “Has Apple redefined the tablet as an 8-inch device?” where he explains how he fell in love with the iPad mini and ditched his iPad. He makes a case for this middle size device becoming the new norm with the popularity of devices like the iPad mini, Google’s Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire. He’s got me thinking about getting a mini to replace everything!

What do you think? Could you live with one device for everything? What is your ideal mobile device size?

Laridian and the Better Business Bureau

Posted on: November 12th, 2010 by Craig Rairdin 11 Comments

About a year and a half ago we let our Better Business Bureau (BBB) membership expire. We had been members since 2000, and were some of the earliest members of their “BBBOnline” program that sought to separate the better businesses from the scams that are so much a part of online life. At the time we joined, we paid $310 to join the BBB itself and another $225 for the BBBOnline program.

From the beginning, it was clear that the BBB was just a consumer con-job. From the fact that it has absolutely no power nor willingness to involve itself in resolving disputes, to the minimal requirements it places on its members, to the shoddy paper membership certificate it sends you to “display proudly”, the BBB is little more than an organization that shakes down businesses for $350+/year with vague offers of increased credibility while offering those businesses and the consumers whose interests it claims to represent little in return.

Now, ABC News is reporting here and here that the BBB is little more than a pay-to-play scam, where the terrorist organization Hamas received an A-minus rating, while Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants get F’s. The difference? Hamas (or at least, a blogger claiming to be Hamas) pays their dues. Wolfgang Puck does not.

I went back through my records and found three complaints in the ten years or so we were members. One complaint was from a customer who had purchased from us twice. The second time he claimed to be a new customer and as a result his new purchases ended up in a separate download account from his old purchases. However, when he logged in to download, he logged into the old account rather than following the login instructions in the confirmation email we sent him. This kind of thing happens fairly regularly, of course, and we’re always able to handle it through tech support. This customer, however, contacted the BBB before contacting us. Once he contacted us, of course, we resolved his problem instantly like we always do.

The second complaint was from a customer who had purchased a Bible but not the PocketBible program that was required in order to view the Bible. Again, instead of contacting us when he couldn’t view his Bible, he contacted BBB and filed a complaint. By the time we received notice of the complaint several days later, he had contacted tech support and the problem was solved within hours — all before we even received his BBB complaint.

Complaint number three was similar to the first. Customer orders a Bible but no reader. We tell him to buy the reader, which he does, but now claims the Bible is not on his download page. We log into the customer’s account, and there it is. We write back and tell him “it’s the third one from the top” and he files a complaint with the BBB. Again, problems like this happen from time to time, but we’re always able to solve them without any help from the BBB.

Unfortunately, when you look at our BBB status report, all it will tell you is that we’ve had complaints. It doesn’t say that they were all from customers who technically didn’t have a claim in the first place. It just says they were “resolved”. (Since we haven’t had any complaints in the last three years, our current report will say “no complaints”.)

My one big experience as a consumer using the Better Business Bureau was a complaint against a competitor who was advertising their software as “the only true PDA Bible study software”. I felt this claim was demonstrably false, since there were dozens of PDA Bible study programs available at the time. BBB is very particular about advertising claims. You can’t say things like “discounts up to 50% off” or even “lowest prices in town” (the latter is OK only if you can exhaustively demonstrate that it’s true). So I felt the claim that this company had the “only” Bible software was simply false, and since they were BBB members, the BBB should hold them responsible for their clearly false advertising.

The BBB forwarded my complaint to the company, and the company replied that their software contained Greek and Hebrew lexicons, and therefore was the only true Bible study software for PDAs. I wrote back with a list of six Bible programs that included Greek and Hebrew lexicons for the same mobile platforms as this competitor supported. That was the end of the discussion. The BBB didn’t do anything against the company even after an advertising review. The whole issue was simply dropped.

In 2004 we did a customer survey. We selected several hundred people who had purchased within the last week or two and presented them with a list of certifications like “Better Business Bureau”, “BizRate”, “Verisign”, “Verified by Visa”, “Good Housekeeping”, etc. We asked how important each of these were, and if any of them were instrumental in their decision to purchase from us. Here are the top four, in order from most important to least important:

  1. Verisign
  2. Verified by Visa
  3. TrustE
  4. BBB Online

Ironically, at the time, neither the Verisign nor Verified by Visa logos appeared on our site yet customers told us the appearance of those logos is what changed their mind about ordering products from us. (The exact question was: “I was uncertain about ordering from Laridian until I saw this certification.”) More importantly, these imaginary logos were more important (by a factor of almost 2) than the BBB certification that was actually on the site!

So a year and a half ago it seemed abundantly clear that (1) very few people were actually making use of BBB; (2) those who did make use of it were actually making baseless claims that were solved by tech support without help from BBB; (3) all claims, regardless of how specious, were counted against us regardless of their resolution; and (4) customers weren’t relying nearly as much on the BBB certification logo as they were on certifications which they only imagined seeing on our site. We explained all this to our BBB rep and told them we’d be willing to sign up for another year for $30 instead of $365. (We figured it might result in one or two more sales over the course of a year, so $30 seemed more than fair.) They declined our generous offer so we let our membership expire.

We hesitated to mention publicly that we had dropped our BBB membership because we were afraid of what that might imply. But now that the facts about the BBB have finally come to light, I think it’s safe to let you know that despite our current “A” rating and being complaint-free for the last three years, we are no longer paying protection money to this particular gang.

PocketBible for iPad

Posted on: February 3rd, 2010 by Craig Rairdin 38 Comments

Apple announced its long awaited iPad tablet device last week, and like you we were all anxious to see it.

What we’re being told is that it will run most iPhone apps unmodified. They will only take up about 1/4 of the screen, since the iPad screen is significantly larger than the iPhone. We don’t have any reason to believe PocketBible won’t run on the iPad, but we’re doing what we can to make sure.

While the SDK has been distributed to developers, it is only a beta and we are unable to build what Apple calls “universal apps” that will allow the same binary file to run on either an iPhone or an iPad. We also don’t have access to pre-production devices, so we can only run in the emulator that is built into the development tools. So we have some reason to believe that PocketBible will work as-is but can’t be absolutely sure at this point because we’ve never seen it run on a device.

There are some simple user interface changes we’ll be making in the short term to better take advantage of the iPad’s capabilities. In addition, there are some new capabilities in the iPad version of the OS that aren’t yet in the iPhone that we’d like to investigate — what Apple calls “Core Text” is at the top of that list.

It’s not obvious from the end-user point of view, but PocketBible pushes the limits of the iPhone’s abilities when it comes to displaying text. PocketBible is exactly the type of application that the iPhone OS was not designed for — that is, an app that does sophisticated text rendering. The new iPad, with its bigger screen and potentially more usable keyboard, invites applications like word processors that need sophisticated layout capabilities. PocketBible is in that camp.

This is not unique to the iPhone. Windows Mobile also lacks key text rendering capabilities that are present in its big brother, Windows on the desktop. For example, it’s not possible in Windows Mobile to accurately measure the width of a piece of text as it will be displayed on the screen. You can almost do it, but it doesn’t work right for bold and italics. So we’ve had to implement our own functions for this.

We could probably get into a lengthy discussion of whether or not this form factor is something the public will accept. I’ve seen everything from people who want it to replace their phone (assuming they can keep from knocking themselves unconscious when they answer it) to those who point out that tablet computers with full-blown operating systems have failed to capture consumer attention, which causes one to question whether a similar device with a mobile OS stands a chance.

That said, one of my long-standing complaints about devices such as the Sony Reader and the Kindle are that they don’t allow any kind of third-party software. (Or at least until recently when Amazon announced a “Kindle Developer’s Kit” for Kindle.) My Kindle is great, but it’s horrible for Bible study because the software simply doesn’t have the features you need to access an integrated Bible library, or even perform moderately sophisticated searches. Viewed as a souped-up e-book reader, the iPad may stand a chance. While it’s hard to imagine anyone beating Amazon’s selection of e-books for Kindle, if anyone has a chance of doing so it would be Apple.

The iPad could actually be the perfect electronic Bible study device. It’s just portable enough to be truly portable, while being large enough to facilitate convenient cross-referencing between titles.

From a developer’s standpoint there’s not a whole lot to complain about. It’s like a big iPhone, so everything we’ve learned about iPhone and Mac programming transfers painlessly to the iPad. We’re not crazy about the shortsightedness of some of their new features (“split views” being at the top of that list for you programmers) but we’ve also seen initial shortsightedness in the iPhone OS get repaired in subsequent releases. Unfortunately, like the similar issues that arose years ago on the Palm OS, by the time the official solutions are released everyone has already coded their own work-arounds to meet user demand.

What all this boils down to is that we fully plan to support the iPad and in fact enhance PocketBible over time to take advantage of unique iPad features. We think it could be an ideal Bible study platform for those who have the spare change to invest in one.

PocketBible vs. pocket-bible

Posted on: July 10th, 2008 by Craig Rairdin 33 Comments

For those of you who have written expressing some confusion about a product called “pocket-bible” for the iPhone 2, no, that isn’t our product.

Yes, we do have a registered trademark on the term “PocketBible”. Our version of PocketBible for iPhone and iPod Touch is called iPocketBible but the trademark covers any software that is used to display the Bible text, regardless of platform.

We’ve had to deal with a number of trademark infringements over the years and so far they’ve all been handled very reasonably. We hope this one will be no exception.

I’m Done Answering QuickVerse Questions

Posted on: September 3rd, 2007 by Craig Rairdin 66 Comments

Update – September 26, 2015 – This is the most popular article on our blog, believe it or not. I wrote this in 2007 and people are still coming here, looking for QuickVerse support. If you’re here you need to just give up on your old version of QuickVerse. Time has left you behind. :-)


I get several emails every month from people running QuickVerse 4 and needing help to install it on a new machine, or to install some add-on product. Or they want to know where to find a particular QuickVerse 4 Bible, CD, or other related program.

I’ve made a decision tonight to just be done with that topic. Laridian has its own Bible software for Windows now, so there’s no need for anyone to keep using QuickVerse.

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