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Archive for the ‘iPad’ Category

Why Are My Books Being Deleted?

Posted on: August 8th, 2012 by Craig Rairdin 7 Comments

Lately we’ve been seeing an increasing number of reports of the iPhone or iPad deleting PocketBible books to make room on the device for newer apps, music, or content being downloaded to the device. The assumption seems to be that PocketBible is doing something “wrong” and we need to fix it. It can be argued, however, that PocketBible is following the rules but a) the rules are not what you think they are, and b) the rules keep changing.

When the memory on your iOS device gets close to being full, the operating system looks for files it can delete to make room for whatever it is you’ve asked it to store — usually pictures, music, videos, apps or other large files. This makes the books you download for PocketBible vulnerable to deletion (just as your other data is vulnerable when you download PocketBible books onto a relatively “full” device). To get around this, we originally stored your books in a folder where the operating system promised not to delete them.

When iCloud came out and users started backing up their devices to the cloud, all those files started filling up Apple’s servers. Apple was concerned about the volume of data it had committed to store, so they contacted developers and asked us to move our files into folders that were not backed up to iCloud. Included in the list of files that should be moved were any files that could either be re-created the next time the program ran, or be easily downloaded again. This included PocketBible books.

While it would’ve been easier for Apple to just buy more hard drives for their servers, we agreed to move our files as requested. What they didn’t explain at the time was that by moving the files to the suggested folders, they would be subject to deletion as the device approached its memory capacity. After receiving some complaints, we contacted Apple and they told us how to mark files so they would not be purged even though they were in a folder that is normally purged when the device is low on memory. This solved the problem for a while.

It appears, however, that Apple has released an update that ignores the “do not purge” flag on our files and deletes them anyway. They are now saying we should move the files back to where they were before, but mark them as “do not backup”.

This is a consistent pattern with Apple. New releases of the operating system break small things that were working in previous versions. Rather than fixing the OS, Apple asks all its developers to modify their programs. Since they’re Apple, they can do this and get away with it.

One of the problems we face at Laridian is that making changes to an app and re-submitting it to the App Store for approval is a tricky proposition. Last time we did it, Apple rejected the app not for anything that had changed, but for a feature that had been in the program for the last five or six versions that they had previously approved. It took us three months and three more submissions (each time following the instructions they gave us to assure that the program was more likely to be approved) before Apple finally approved the app.

So we don’t submit PocketBible for re-approval without making sure we’ve included all the changes we might want to make for the next several weeks or months because it is a potentially lengthy process. Right now, we’re in the middle of some changes to PocketBible for Windows, Android, and iPhone to support some new features. We’d prefer not to do multiple submissions and so are hoping to complete these new features before uploading a new version to the App Store.

In the meantime, if your memory usage hovers around “full”, be proactive and remove some PocketBible books that you don’t absolutely need. It’s not that hard to simply re-download books as you need them. I regularly show up at church on Sunday morning and realize all my books are gone because I’ve been removing and re-installing PocketBible during testing. It’s simple enough to grab the Bibles and dictionaries I regularly use on Sunday morning while we’re singing our opening hymns so they’re there for the sermon. I can pull down my commentaries later as I want to use them.

While you’re doing that, we’ll work on yet another update to where your books are stored. And hopefully Apple will approve. :-)

3 Steps to Move from PocketBible 1 to PocketBible 3 on your iOS device

Posted on: August 7th, 2012 by Michelle Stramel 5 Comments


Are you still using the first version of PocketBible on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch? If so, we highly recommend moving to PocketBible 3 so you can apply program updates as they are released; we won’t be updating PocketBible 1.4.7 further.

Before we explain how to make the move, check your version number in PocketBible by tapping on the Menu button and selecting About PocketBible. If it PocketBible 1.X.X, keep reading.

  1. Step One: Go to the App Store on your device and search for PocketBible (all one word). Download the program. You’ll notice that the new program has the same icon as your old PocketBible program. If you get confused, follow the tip above to check which version of the program you are in.
  2. Step Two: Delete the old program…wait! Don’t do that yet if you have been adding notes, highlights, bookmarks or tracking reading progress that you want to save. First, read the instructions (click link and scroll to the section Moving Your Notes, Highlights, Bookmarks and Daily Reading Progress to the New Program) to transfer your data. Then delete the old program.
  3. Step Three: Re-download your books. Go into the new program and register if you haven’t already encountered that. Be sure to use the email (or Laridian ID number) and password associated with your existing Laridian account. After registration, tap on the Menu button and choose Add/Remove Books to re-download your past purchases. All your books can be downloaded in one fell swoop if you tap on each book you want to download and then tap on Update at the top of the page.

Why the extra steps? Normally, when you update a program, you just go into the App store and it tells you an update is available. PocketBible will work that way again once you download the new version. If you want to know the “why” you can get it from our initial post on this new version.

Anything else to know? Yes (but it is optional). Once you install PocketBible 3, you can also purchase and install an Advanced Feature Set for $4.99. If you purchase the Advanced Feature Set, you can add a Voice or two to the program and listen to the Bible or any book. Voices are synthesized and sell for $1.99 each.

PocketBible for iOS users: Have you discovered Autostudy?

Posted on: July 1st, 2012 by Michelle Stramel 9 Comments

Sometimes a verse hits you right in the heart and you want to know everything about it. That is what Autostudy does for you. It tells you everything there is to know about any one verse (or word) in your PocketBible library…in just a few seconds.

What do you need to accomplish an Autostudy?

Currently this feature is available exclusively for those who have downloaded the free version of PocketBible 2 for iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) and purchased the Advanced Feature Set ($4.99 at our website). We hope to roll it into other versions of PocketBible as we go along because it is such a useful tool.

How do you produce an Autostudy?

It couldn’t be simpler. With PocketBible open and a Bible translation onscreen, hold down your finger on a verse and a menu will pop-up. Choose menu and then Autostudy verse. You can do the same with any word in the Bible.

What does Autostudy give you?

As mentioned previously, Autostudy tells you everything there is to know about a verse or word based on your personal PocketBible library. When you pick a verse to Autostudy, PocketBible will provide information regarding that verse based on other Bibles, commentary, dictionaries, etc. that you have installed. You can choose to see everything in your library or just items of a specific category (i.e. Other Translations, Exhaustive Concordances, Commentary). Under the Settings you can choose to exclude specific Bibles or books from results.

For example, if you chose to Autostudy John 3:16 and chose Other Translations in the options, you would see how John 3:16 reads in all your Bible translations.

Your results will vary with a word or verse Autostudy. The word Autostudy is going to offer information from word-based resources such as dictionaries. The verse Autostudy will offer information from verse-based resources such as Bibles and commentary.

You can take your Autostudy results and copy them to another program, save as HTML or plain text or print with or without the formatting (printing requires a printer with AirPrint support). If you don’t like the formatting, you can change this on the Autostudy menu by choosing to Customize CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). If you need a primer on CSS, check out this Guide to Cascading Style Sheets.

Questions about this PocketBible feature, let us know in the comments.

PocketBible 2.0.3 Now Available on the App Store

Posted on: November 22nd, 2011 by Craig Rairdin 12 Comments

We just heard from Apple saying that 2.0.3 has been approved. You should already be seeing the update in iTunes on your device. We recommend everyone grab this update, as it fixes a few little problems. It also adds a couple of small enhancements that should make the program more enjoyable to use.

If you’re still running 1.4.7 or an earlier version you need to follow the instructions here to get this new version. Version 2.0.3 is not an automatic update to 1.4.7 or any 1.x.x version of PocketBible.


Enhancements

Double-tap on any image to blow it up in a window where it can be zoomed and scrolled. This is handy for maps and some of the detailed charts that appear in some study Bibles and reference books. It works best to go into Settings and tell it to fit images to the screen, then just double-tap them when you want to view them in detail.

If an image has links in it, those links are “hot” in the zoom view. Most images do not have links, but the maps in our Laridian Maps product do.

Books and voices are now marked as “non-purgeable” as they are downloaded. We got some reports that iOS would delete your books if it needed space for another app. This can be disturbing when you discover that books you spent a long time downloading are suddenly gone. By marking these as non-purgeable, Apple promises us they won’t delete them.

Note that while we retroactively mark your existing books as non-purgeable, and that we mark books and voices as non-purgeable as they are downloaded, we do not mark existing voices as non-purgeable due to the complexity of the file structure for voices. If you operate on the edge of available memory and want to make sure your voice files get marked as non-purgeable, you should delete them with Add/Remove Books, then download them again.

If there’s only one book open in a tab, we use that book’s abbreviation as the title for the tab rather than using the book’s category (“Bibles”, “Commentaries”, etc.) as the tab title.

Fixes

On iOS versions prior to 3.2, there were controls to allow you to turn on the tabbed interface even if you didn’t own the Advanced Feature Set. Unfortunately this didn’t really give you the full features of the tabbed interface because the rest of the program would get confused by the fact that you had tabs turned on but did not own the Advanced Feature Set. This version fixes that by hiding those controls.

Printing, emailing, or texting the selected text could crash or do nothing. This has been fixed.

We believe we’ve fixed a problem in which the text window was offset right and up so you could see the gray background behind the text window. This only happened to some users and only under certain circumstances. We could only duplicate it on one of our iPhones. It wasn’t related to which version of iOS you were running or which type of device you had (though I think we only saw it on iPhones and iPod touch devices, not iPads). What it was related to was the version of the development tools we used.

Turns out Apple swapped out a portion of the compiler that converts our Objective-C programming code into the machine code that runs on the phone. The new compiler apparently generates flawed code. (Compare to what happens when an inexperienced translator flubs up the translation of a speech at the United Nations. The original speech is fine but the translation doesn’t say what the original speaker said. That’s what happened to our code. Our code was correct by Apple’s translation of it made the device do something different.) We fixed it by turning off all the special optimizations that the compiler can do for us. Hopefully another programmer will be able to demonstrate this bug in some simple way so Apple can fix it. We were never able to do it reliably, so we couldn’t report it.

As I said, everyone should install this update. You don’t need to re-download your books or voices, nor do you need to sync your personal data after you update. This is just a normal program update that won’t affect anything you’ve downloaded nor any of your notes, highlights, or bookmarks.

PocketBible 2.0.2 Available on the App Store

Posted on: October 21st, 2011 by Craig Rairdin 14 Comments

We’ve just been notified that our latest update to PocketBible (version 2.0.2) has been approved by Apple. It should become available in the App Store over the next 24 hours.

This update mostly affects people at either end of the range of supported iOS versions. For those of you still running some version of iOS less than 3.2 (primarily those of you with first-generation iPod touch devices running 3.1.3) you’ll finally get to see what PocketBible 2 looks like. Both the initial release and the 2.0.1 update had problems that prevented them from running on those devices. We had been relying on our development tools to tell us if we were using features of iOS that were not present on those older devices. Unfortunately, it turns out they are very silent on that issue. We’ve learned our lesson and have “downgraded” an old iPhone to 3.0 for testing. (Previously we were limited to running 3.2 in the iPhone emulator.) As a result we’ve been able to identify the issues that were preventing PocketBible from running on 3.0 and 3.1 devices.

On the other end of the iOS version spectrum we ran into an interesting bug in iOS 5. When we put verses on the pasteboard (that’s “clipboard” everywhere else but in Apple Land), we always store both a plain-text version and an HTML version. This allows applications that understand HTML to paste nicely formatted text, including superscripted verse numbers, words of Christ in red, and bold headings. Simpler applications expecting only plain text have the option of requesting just the plain text from the pasteboard.

When an application pastes data from the pasteboard, it specifies what format it wants. Unfortunately, in iOS 5, when an application asks for the traditional “utf8-plain-text” that has worked in all iOS versions since the beginning of time (OK, since iOS 2), the operating system will not give it the “utf8-plain-text” version of the pasteboard text, but instead will substitute something else — in our case, the HTML text that is also there. Since the pasting application neither expects nor understand HTML, it treats it as plain text and pastes it, tags and all, into your document.

To get around this, we have to add a third form of the text to the pasteboard, which is identified simply as “text”. This version is identical to the more correct “utf8-plain-text” that has worked on previous iOS versions. Doing this tricks iOS 5 into supplying plain text to apps that request it, so that pasted verses no longer include HTML tags.

On the subject of iOS 5, it introduced some new fonts and some new ways of identifying old fonts. Since iOS makes it very difficult to determine if a font provides the bold, italic, and bold/italic versions that PocketBible requires, we use a somewhat fragile technique to try to make that determination by looking at the names of the fonts. This didn’t work exactly right in iOS 5. The result was that Helvetica Neue was displayed as condensed and bold, and both Optima and Hoefler Text were missing from the list of available fonts. This has been fixed and the code reinforced so that hopefully it will do a better job identifying fonts in the future.

Some of you have had the unfortunate experience of selecting two or three verse and when you ask PocketBible to highlight the selected verses, it highlights the rest of your Bible. This happens when the end of your selection is right on the little gap between paragraphs. This is fixed in version 2.0.2 so that your entire Bible isn’t highlighted when you only want to highlight a couple verses.

Finally, probably because of the load that PocketBible 2 has put on our servers, many of you ended up with corrupted book files. Since PocketBible can’t read the file (the were corrupted during download) it can only identify the book by its 8-character alphanumeric file name. So you would see a message that “0065001d.lbk” was damaged, but there was no way to know what book that was so that you could re-download it. This message came up every time you ran PocketBible. The new version deletes damaged books automatically so that you won’t be nagged by warning messages.

For all the complaining we do about the App Store approval process, this update was approved in about 24 hours. Hard to complain about that!

PocketBible 2.0.1 Approved by Apple

Posted on: October 12th, 2011 by Craig Rairdin 19 Comments

We’ve just been notified that PocketBible for iOS version 2.0.1 has been approved. This is essentially an update that tries to squash the inevitable little bugs that show up in any x.0.0 version.

Some of you were completely unable to run PocketBible at all. Turns out if you weren’t running a relatively recent version of the operating system, PocketBible would display its splash screen then immediately exit. This has been fixed. We were all somewhat surprised we hadn’t found that problem before releasing the program, since it was trivial to reproduce once we set our minds to it. We get used to our programming tools warning us when we try to do something that’s not available in older versions of the OS and don’t always test for compatibility as thoroughly as we could.

Some of you were surprised to hear Heather or Ryan or one of our other voices start reading the Bible to you when you hung up after a phone call. Turns out if you paused PocketBible’s synthesized voice instead of stopping it, then any interruption would restart the reading. That was an easy fix once I figured out what was going on. Sorry if it caught you at an inopportune time.

This brings up an interesting point: You probably didn’t realize that the “mute” switch on your iPad or iPhone is only a “suggestion” to the device. You might think you’re turning off the sound, but you’re not. Apple treats the iPod app and other apps that play “foreground” sound (such as PocketBible) as immune from the effects of the mute switch. They believe you only intend to mute background sounds from games, key clicks, and that kind of thing when you flip the mute switch. Hmmm.

A couple of you reported that you only had two panes/tabs on your iPhone after upgrading to the Advanced Feature Set, instead of the advertised five panes/tabs. It could be fixed by exiting the program and re-launching. We were able to find the problem and fix it so you won’t have to do that in the future.

While printing out one of my own sermon notes I discovered the Autostudy CSS settings for ordered and unordered lists were overriding my list types. So my nice outline with roman numerals and upper/lower case letters was displayed with all arabic numerals. I made a change to the default CSS so this won’t happen.

Some of you were able to crash the program while doing a “Paste to Email” or “Paste to Text” operation. When we looked at the code, it looked like it should always crash, yet it never crashed for us and it didn’t crash for many of you. So this is one of those cases where we’re not sure why it ever worked at all. Nevertheless, it’s fixed in 2.0.1.

Finally, we got a nice note from Apple saying they were concerned about the effect our Bibles and books would have on the amount of data backed up to their new iCloud service. Data that can be re-downloaded from our server, they said, should not be stored in a directory that is automatically backed up. We see it the other way. We think you’d like to have your entire PocketBible library restored when restoring from a backup set, without having to separately log into our server (and any other server for any other program you might have with ebooks or other downloadable data). We read the developer documentation as “suggesting” that we don’t do that, so after considering the suggestion we decided to leave it the way it was.

However, Apple seemed really concerned about the few dollars this might cost them in additional hard drive space for iCloud, and given that they’ve gone through some tough times lately we decided to help them out. Version 2.0.1 automatically moves your books to a folder that does not get backed up to iCloud. So if you ever have to restore a backup, you’ll have to log into your account on our server and re-download your books. Just don’t everyone do it at the same time. :-)

PocketBible 2 for iOS Now Available in the App Store

Posted on: October 4th, 2011 by Craig Rairdin 65 Comments

By the time you read this, PocketBible 2 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch should be available in the App Store. It introduces several new features and a new pricing scheme.

Quick Summary for the Horribly Impatient

PocketBible 2 is called “PocketBible” in the App Store. It is a free download. PocketBible 1 (“PocketBible FREE” in the App Store) is no longer available in the App Store. YOU MUST DOWNLOAD THE NEW POCKETBIBLE FROM THE APP STORE IN ORDER TO GET THE ADVANCED FEATURES MENTIONED BELOW. Some of you are trying use the feature set upgrade on the old PocketBible FREE 1.4.7. That won’t work. You must download the new PocketBible from the App store in order to get the advanced features mentioned below. There’s a link to PocketBible 2 in the next paragraph.

Click here to download the new version of PocketBible. (NOTE: Do not skip this step!)

The free version of PocketBible 2 has pretty much the same features as PocketBible 1.4.7 (one exception is described below). To get the new features, you need to purchase the “Advanced Feature Set” either at our website ($4.99) or through In-App Purchase inside the app ($5.99).

After you purchase the upgrade at our website, go to “Buy/Apply Upgrade” inside the app to apply the upgrade and enable the advanced features. You must provide your Laridian login credentials during this step so the program can find your purchase on our website.

If you have notes, highlights, bookmarks, or devotional reading progress you want to preserve, you need to move that data to your new copy of PocketBible using the process described below (and also in the built-in help). To get your Bibles and books into the new version, you need to simply download them using Menu > Add/Remove Books.

All PocketBible users should switch to the new version even if you don’t upgrade to the Advanced Feature Set. The old version of PocketBible will not be updated and has been removed from the App Store.

New Features in Free Version

The free version of PocketBible 2 has essentially the same features as PocketBible 1.4.7. The only significant new feature in the free version is related to expanding the Toolbox. In version 1, the expanded toolbox covered the Bible text. When we first implemented the expanding Toolbox, we figured it would be a temporary action. However, we’ve found that we prefer to have the Toolbox expanded while entering notes, and it’s inconvenient to have to collapse it to view the BIble text. So now PocketBible moves the active pane to the empty space above/below/next to the expanded Toolbox. And if the keyboard obscures part of the pane, the pane is shrunk again to fit in the available space.

All PocketBible users should switch to PocketBible 2. Version 1 has been removed from the App Store and won’t be updated. To make sure you get the latest bug fixes and updates, you should make the switch now to version 2 even if you’re not planning to purchase the Advanced Feature Set. This unfortunate circumstance is the result of the way Apple has us sign and identify applications.

Advanced Features

To access the advanced features in PocketBible 2, you need to purchase the “Advanced Feature Set” — either inside the app for $5.99 or directly on our website for $4.99. Advanced features include:

  • Automatic verse studies. Select a verse and PocketBible prepares an HTML or plain-text document chock full of information about that verse from your Library. This file can be viewed from within PocketBible, transferred to your Windows or Mac computer through iTunes, printed using AirPrint, or copied and pasted to an email. Each Verse Autostudy report includes:
    • The text of the selected verse from all your Bibles (you choose which ones)
    • The text of the selected verse with Strong’s numbers (if you own one of our Bibles with Strong’s numbers)
    • The definition of each English word in the verse from all of your dictionaries (you choose which ones)
    • The definition of each Strong’s word number from your Strong’s dictionaries (you choose which ones)
    • Commentary on the verse from all your commentaries (you choose which ones)
    • Cross references from the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (if you have it installed)
  • Automatic word studies. Select a word and PocketBible prepares a similar HTML document, this time with information about the selected word. Each Word Autostudy report includes:
    • Definition of the selected word from all of your dictionaries (you choose which ones)
    • A summary of search results from selected Bibles (you choose which ones)
    • A list of related Strong’s numbers (original language words translated to the selected word)
    • Definitions of the related Strong’s word numbers (you select which Strong’s dictionaries)
  • Synthesized voices read any Bible or book to you. Purchase a voice from a selection of six English and three Spanish voices, and PocketBible will read to you! Works with any of your Bibles or other books, does not require an internet connection once the voice is installed, and takes only about 50MB-75MB (compared to
    4000MB for a pre-recorded audio Bible). Start a playlist of hymns and have PocketBible read to you from the Psalms for an inspiring time of daily devotions. Or have PocketBible read while you do other tasks on your iPad. No other mobile Bible program can do all that.
  • New tabbed view. Both iPhone and iPad now support up to five panes (iPhone was previously only two panes) and you can choose to view five full-screen tabs instead of splitting the screen into panes. Just select a tab to view the books open in that tab.
  • Automatically open all your books into tabs. PocketBible will open Bibles, commentaries, dictionaries, devotionals, and “other” books each into their own tabs for easy access to your entire library.
  • AirPrint support (iOS 4.2 or later). Print Autostudy reports, passages, or selected text to your AirPrint-capable printer.
  • Improved text selection. Drag through any text to select it. Copy, print, speak, or perform other operations on the selected text. Uses familiar iOS interface components (such as the magnifying glass and lollipop-shaped “drag handles”). (This seems obvious but we had to implement them from scratch as Apple doesn’t expose those components to developers, so it seems worth mentioning.)
  • Highlight selected verses. Highlight more than one verse at a time by dragging through any portion of the verses, then select “Highlight selected verses”. You can’t highlight portions of a verse, but you can highlight more than one verse at a time.

Apple Changed the Rules

As many of you know, Apple now requires that ebook apps like ours must not link to a website for add-on book sales, but must use Apple’s In-App Purchasing (IAP) capability and pay Apple 30% of each sale for doing little more than processing a credit card (which costs them about 3%). Amazon responded to this by entirely removing all links to their website from their Kindle app. We opted to implement Apple’s IAP but at a slightly higher price to offset Apple’s fee. (You’ll pay on average about 17.6% more for a book you buy using IAP vs. purchasing direct on our site, which results in us splitting the 30% fee 50/50. The proof is left for the reader.)

This would have very little consequence except that PocketBible 1.4.7 was created in a way that prevented it from ever using IAP. As a result, version 2 could not simply be a new version of the existing “PocketBible FREE” application. Instead it had to be a separate product. This is confusing for those of you upgrading from version 1, but should not be a problem in the future.

Moving Your Notes, Highlights, Bookmarks and Daily Reading Progress to the New Program

Since PocketBible 2 is a different program than PocketBIble 1, you will need to move any notes, highlights, bookmarks, and daily reading progress that you want to keep from PocketBible 1. Again, this is only necessary if you have data you want to preserve. To do that:

  • Launch the old version of PocketBible. Verify it’s the old one by looking at the version number at the bottom of the menu. Next to “About PocketBible” it should say “1.x.x” (the latest version is 1.4.7).
  • Choose Menu > Manage My Data.
  • Enter your Laridian login credentials and select either “Sync My Data With Server” (if you’ve been sync’ing your data with the server in the past) or “Back Up My Data To Server”. Note that if you have been keeping your data in sync with the server and you know it is up to date, you can skip this step.
  • When that is complete, exit PocketBible and launch the new PocketBible program.
  • Verify you are in the new PocketBible program by going to the bottom of the menu. Next to “About PocketBible” it should say “2.0.0” (or later).
  • If you have not yet registered, do so now. (You’ll see “Register PocketBible” near the top of the menu if you haven’t registered.)
  • Choose Menu > Manage My Data.
  • Enter your Laridian login credentials and select either “Sync My Data With Server” (if that’s what you did in version 1) or Restore From a Backup (if you used “Back Up My Data To Server” above). If you are restoring from a back up, you’ll be presented with a list of backup sets. Find the section labelled with the name of your device followed by “com.laridian.PocketBible” and choose the top item from that list (the most recent backup).
  • When that is complete, you have transferred your personal notes, highlights, etc. to PocketBible 2. You can remove the old PocketBible program from your device and download Bibles and reference books into PocketBIble 2.

Some Screen Shots

Here are some quick screen shots to give you an idea of some of the new and improved features.


Bible text now moves out of the way of the expanded toolbox, making it easier to take notes and follow along in the text at the same time.

New text selection method that lets you select any text. Also note the tabbed interface. Choose “Open All Books” to open your books into categorized tabs. (Advanced Feature Set)

Here I’ve finished selecting the text and the menu appears. The old “context menu” is still available by selecting “Menu”. To get options that apply to the selected text, choose “Selection Actions”. (Advanced Feature Set)

Selected text can be copied to the pasteboard, printed, emailed, sent by text message, spoken (if you have a voice installed) or looked up in a dictionary. (Advanced Feature Set)

Select “Autostudy Verse” from the context menu to quickly find everything in your library about a particular verse. You can do a similar study on any word. (Advanced Feature Set)

Accomplishing Word Studies in PocketBible

Posted on: July 11th, 2011 by Michelle Stramel 13 Comments

With PocketBible and the right set of Bibles and books, you can easily study the meaning of words used in the Bible. This can add some great insight into your Bible study especially when you are focusing on a specific verse.

It is also the case that we occasionally receive emails from PocketBible users who are having trouble figuring out how to use this feature or who have purchased more or less than they need to do word studies. If you think this type of research might be something you are interested in, consider this to be some “inside” information for you in that regard.

What to purchase?

First you need a Bible with Strong’s numbers. We offer three choices:

  1. KJV with Strong’s Numbers and Greek/Hebrew Dictionaries (KJVEC) – this gives you the King James Version Bible text with embedded Strong’s numbers (which you can turn on or off) and a basic Greek and Hebrew Dictionary.
  2. NASB with Strong’s Numbers and Greek/Hebrew Dictionaries (NASEC) – this gives you the New American Standard Bible text with embedded Strong’s numbers (which you can turn on or off) and a basic Greek and Hebrew Dictionary.
  3. HCSB with Strong’s Numbers (HCSBEC) – this gives you the Holman Christian Standard Bible text with embedded Strong’s numbers (which you can turn on or off). It does NOT include definitions.

The Strong’s numbers in these Bibles allow you to link to definitions in the included dictionaries as well as other Strong’s number-based dictionaries. In considering which one to buy, you first want to think about the translations offered. Is there one you prefer over the others? If not, keep in mind that the KJVEC and NASEC include a dictionary. The HCSBEC doesn’t. Also, the dictionaries do differ. I find that the KJVEC definitions focus more on the meaning of the word while the NASEC definitions focus more on how (and how many times) the word is translated in the Bible.

Each of the exhaustive concordances previously mentioned can be used with our dictionaries that are keyed to Strong’s numbers. All of which offer more detailed descriptions of words than the dictionaries included with the KJVEC and NASEC. In the interest of brevity, I won’t go into detail about each one but you can click the book name below for more information from our store.

  1. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words
  2. New Strong’s Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek Words
  3. Complete Word Study Dictionaries

I’m no biblical scholar, so I offer the following purchase recommendations as a fellow PocketBible user. After purchasing the NASEC or KJVEC, if you find you’d like more in-depth information about words, Vine’s is a great deal. It covers Old and New Testament words with great detail and has been a trusted resource for many over the years. If you have the budget for it, the Complete Word Study Dictionaries are excellent and the bundle of the OT/NT gives you in-depth coverage for the entire Bible.

Finally, if you purchase the KJVEC, you may want to skip the New Strong’s Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek Words because the dictionaries in each are similar.

How to use

We’ve written in the past about how to use Strong’s numbers and of course it is covered in the PocketBible Help but it is a subject worth revisiting. If you are using PocketBible for Windows, PocketBible for Windows Mobile, or MyBible for Palm OS, you’ll find step by step instructions for usings Strong’s here. I’m going to use the iPhone in my examples in this article but the principles for other versions of PocketBible are similar.

  1. Open the PocketBible program.
  2. Open the NASEC or KJVEC Bible.
  3. Make sure the Strong’s Numbers are turned on. If they are not, tap and hold anywhere on the Bible and a menu will pop up with an option to turn Strong’s numbers on.
  4. Tap on any Strong’s Number and a dictionary will open with a definition for this number. If you own only the NASEC or KJVEC, the accompanying dictionary will open. If you own other dictionaries, you can go into settings to set up a preferred dictionary for Hebrew and Greek so that your favorite will always open up first. You can also open up two panes and put the Bible in one pane and your dictionary in the other.

Do you already use these tools in PocketBible? Please feel free to share your comments and tips with other users in the comments.

Is the iPad the perfect platform for PocketBible?

Posted on: June 21st, 2011 by Michelle Stramel 41 Comments

In a recent post, I asked if you were still using a print version Bible along with PocketBible. Although not a scientific survey, of forty-some comments via Facebook and the web, around 35% of you are still using print regularly and another 20% are using it occasionally – mostly for personal study at home or in preaching (we still can’t trust electronic entirely!). I related to the person who mentioned that he uses print so he is not distracted by emails, texts, Facebook, etc. when he is trying to read the Bible. I can further add that a printed Bible does not attract the notice of children (or adults) in the same manner that an electronic device does, giving the printed Word another advantage for quiet times. In summary, the electronic and print still seem to offer something that cannot be replaced entirely by the other. Although I couldn’t help but notice a certain “extra” enthusiasm about PocketBible from the iPad owners.

I’ve always thought the iPad looked cool but there’s no way I’d part with $500 for what I consider to be a non-essential electronic device. However, your comments intrigued me and I was able to borrow an iPad and use it for the last week or so. Let’s just say, I “get” your enthusiasm. I haven’t felt this way about a device since I first got my iPhone. As a personal study tool and a replacement for a paper Bible, I can’t imagine anything better. However, if I prepared Bible studies or wrote sermons, I think I would continue to use PocketBible for Windows at my desktop. And, of course, PocketBible on my iPhone would be used because I always have my phone with me. But, yes, PocketBible for iPad along with all the other features of the iPad is making $500 seem like a wise investment rather than an extravagance.

What’s to love about the iPad?

1. iPads are more portable than a laptop and they turn on instantly. I don’t carry my laptop around the house and it sure doesn’t turn on instantly even from sleep mode.

2. It still has that “geeky-cool” factor (as one customer put it) and everything, including PocketBible, game apps, web sites, looks great on it.

3. PocketBible for iPad. It beats out PocketBible for iPhone in my book for one really important reason: screen size. For the first time, I’m using the split screen option regularly – up to 5 windows open on the iPad is amazing. The extra buttons on the toolbar and the extra toolbox make changing settings and adding highlights and bookmarks easier. And I love that the search feature shows results for all my books instead of just the current one. On the iPad, there is more room to spread out and, for me, that makes it more enjoyable to use.

iPad owners, am I missing anything about PocketBible or the iPad in general?

PocketBible 1.4.7 at App Store

Posted on: February 13th, 2011 by Craig Rairdin 33 Comments

Apple just approved this latest update to PocketBible for the iPhone/iPad. iPad users can now hide the Toolbox when in landscape orientation! (Yes, we do pay attention to your requests.) :-)

Follow up (2/16/2011): For the Android users who have been posting sometimes nasty comments implying that we’re wasting time on useless features for iPad while they sit on their thrones making demands of how we (specifically I, Craig) should be spending our time, let me first say I’ve deleted your comments. As far as the time involved, let me explain how this works. As we get bug reports, we fix the problems in the code. We may not stop and do a release immediately because often the bugs are cosmetic or more of an annoyance than a real problem. We don’t want to take the time to jump through the App Store hoops and have everyone download a new version of the app just to discover there’s no real changes for most people. Instead, we accumulate a few of those changes until we run into one that is particularly bad.

That’s what happened this time. One whole feature of searching was unavailable on the iPad due to a recent iOS update from Apple. The actual fix to that problem was done by Jeff between chemo/radiation treatments. And since we were going to be doing an update anyway, I pulled out the suggestion list to see if there was anything I could do relatively quickly to add a new feature. The ability to hide the Toolbox in landscape mode on the iPad involved changing about four lines of code and had very little risk. I also looked at one other feature but it was taking too much time so I just left it on the list for later.

We know that we have customers waiting for an Android version of PocketBible. There’s no need to reply to every single Facebook post and every single blog post with snarky comments about how you wish we were announcing the Android product instead. Believe it or not, it doesn’t make it go faster nor does it change our priorities, which are already heavily tilted toward Android.

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