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Archive for the ‘Mac’ Category

Advanced Feature Set Now Available for PocketBible on the Mac

Posted on: October 30th, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 2 Comments

While PocketBible for Mac OS X is our most powerful and flexible version of PocketBible to date, we have put together some additional features to create an Advanced Feature Set that we think will enhance your Bible study even further! The Advanced Feature Set is available via in-app purchase (PocketBible Menu | Buy/Apply Upgrade) or can be purchased at the Laridian website for $14.99.

This video overview takes you through the extra features you will enjoy with the Advanced Feature Set:

What can Advanced Features do for you?

The Advanced Feature Set for Mac OS X offers additional study options that will show up on your menus in PocketBible for Mac OS X after you purchase the set. Some items are enhancements to existing features and some are all new features.

All New Features

  • Library Navigator – use this new option on your Study Panel to get an ongoing report of everywhere in your library the currently active verse is discussed. This is most useful with commentaries but you can choose the type of book or specific books to receive this information about.
  • AutoStudy – if you are using Advanced Features on an iPhone or iPad, you will already be familiar with this feature. Right-click on any verse, passage or word to produce and in-depth study using all (or selected) books in your PocketBible library.
  • AutoStudy today’s readings – use this to produce a document of your day’s readings or devotionals (with Bible verses included). You can then read as-is, print or save to a file.
  • Maximize pane or book – if you used PocketBible on Windows CE or Mobile device, you may remember this feature. It allows you to temporarily zoom in on a specific book or pane – maximize it in your window. Since an actual layout is created, you can save the view to easily return to later.
  • Hover over Bible verses to view the verse(s) mentioned in a verse reference. This is a much-requested feature that saves you time when using cross-references.

Enhancements to Existing Features

  • Journal Notes – add notes to PocketBible that are not attached to a Bible verse.
  • Search all – choose to search your entire library at once for a word or phrase (normally, search applies only to the active book)
  • Rename Highlight Colors – change the name of any of the 16 highlight colors to something more meaningful to you (i.e. change Aqua to God’s Love)
  • More layout options
    • Create multiple, named screen layouts for different purposes (for example, one for devotional reading, one for lesson preparation, and one for note-taking during sermons).
    • Create a special layout for devotional reading that will be activated when the Today button is pressed.

How to upgrade

If you are already using PocketBible on your Mac, you’ll need to make sure you are updated to the version 1.1.0 or later. If you are not, you can check for updates under the PocketBible menu in the program. You can then check under the PocketBible menu and choose Buy/Apply Upgrade to purchase from within the app. Be sure to check your Special Offers while you are there before purchasing (another Advanced Feature is the ability to turn off the Special Offers notices that occur occasionally while you are using the app).

Note: While Bibles and books are “buy once, own forever”, Advanced Features are sold separately for each version of PocketBible. This is to support current and future development for each operating system.

To our KickStarter supporters: if you chose a reward that included the Advanced Feature set, this should already be available in your account. If it is not, please contact us at support@laridian.com so we can take care of that for you.

What’s in the Pipeline?

Posted on: October 21st, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 130 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 1.3.0 was released on 9/22/14 and added devotional tracking features to the app and some other minor enhancements. We are currently working on what will become the Advanced Feature Set for the Android version.
  • PocketBible 3.1 for iOS – version 3.1.0 was uploaded to the App Store on 3/28/14. The program seems to be working well under iOS 8, so there wasn’t an update specific to iOS 8. We’ll be taking a more serious look at PocketBible for iOS once PocketBible for Mac is wrapped up.
  • PocketBible for Mac OS X – Version 1.1.0 with support for the new Advanced Feature Set was released on 10/28/14.
  • BookBuilder for Mac OS X – This was promised as part of the Kickstarter campaign for PocketBible and will get started soon.
  • PocketBible for Windows Phone – Send us your suggestions for enhancements.
  • PocketBible for Windows Store – Send us your suggestions for enhancements.

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)
  • The Open Your Bible Commentary (Kingsley) – released 10/7/14
  • 365 Day Devotional Commentary (Richards)
  • Wesley Study Bible (Abingdon)

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!

PocketBible for Mac OS X Review

Posted on: September 30th, 2014 by Craig Rairdin No Comments

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 6.56.40 PMChristian Computing Magazine has published a review of PocketBible for Mac OS X, calling it “one of the fastest and most Mac-like Bible apps available”.

You can read the full review here.

Among other compliments, reviewer Kevin Purcell called PocketBible, “…a simple to use, speedy way to quickly look up verses, search for that passage you’re trying to find and access your PocketBible books. Most lay Bible students will really enjoy PocketBible and more advanced students should consider adding it to their arsenal for those times they want to quickly find something in the Bible.”

Kevin’s review does a pretty good job of covering a wide range of features in the program and overall has a positive impression of the program. He does raise a number of points that he sees as weaknesses of the program, which I’d like to acknowledge and adress. These fall into three categories:

Features That Are Already in the Program

Kevin would like to use ⌘-W to close a pane in PocketBible. The problem is that ⌘-W actually means “close the active window” in OS X. PocketBible has exactly one window, so closing that window is equivalent to closing the program. In order to keep the user from inadvertently exiting the program, we disabled this feature. The good news is that all shortcut keys are reconfigurable in all apps in OS X. So if you’d like ⌘-W to close the active pane in PocketBible, just go to System Preferences in the Apple menu, choose the Keyboard preference pane, choose Keyboard Shortcuts, choose Application Shortcuts, add PocketBible, and add (or change) any shortcut for any function in PocketBible to use whatever key you would like.

One of the challenges we face on every platform is deciding how to use limited user interface real estate. In particular, the toolbar. Depending on the size of your screen and the width of the window in which you choose to run PocketBible, you may only have room for a half-dozen toolbar buttons. Since everyone uses PocketBible differently, we put what we thought were the essential features on the toolbar by default, and provide a way that you can customize the toolbar to match the way you use the program. Kevin disagrees with the buttons that are there by default. The ones he wants to add are not ones that I would want to take up space for. And I’m sure the configuration of toolbar buttons you prefer would not satisfy either one of us. So we make it customizable, just as you’ll find in most other Mac apps.

One of the features mentioned in the review that is at least partially implemented in the current version of PocketBible (with more coming soon in the Advanced Feature Set) is the ability to see where a verse is discussed in a particular reference book. PocketBible allows you to enter a verse reference in its search field and see everywhere that verse is referenced in the current book or Bible. This feature of the search pane wasn’t mentioned in the review.

Features That Are Coming Soon

Several users, including Kevin, have asked for a “download all books” button. We’ve resisted that because we provide every user with a large number of free Bibles and reference books that most people won’t want cluttering their library. But it’s simple enough to do, so we’ve already added that feature. You’ll see it in the next update to the program.

Features That Will Be Part of the Advanced Feature Set

As we’ve discussed in the past and  announced during the Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign that launched PocketBible for Mac, we intend to produce an “Advanced Feature Set” add-on for PocketBible that will enable additional features in the program. We already do this for iOS, Windows Store, and Windows Phone. We’re working on it for Android and Mac, where it is currently in the hands of our beta testers.

The review mentions the fact that you can’t save your screen layout. That is, if you have several different screen configurations you’d like to use depending on what you’re doing at any given time, you have to completely reconfigure the layout from scratch each time. The free version of PocketBible offers a lot of options for adding and configuring panes so that you have a lot of flexibility for laying out the screen the way you want it. But if you want to save those configurations, you’ll need the Advanced Feature Set. It will allow you to create multiple, named, tabbed layouts. These can be created, deleted, renamed, and rearranged to meet your needs.

Kevin also mentions the need for a feature that would show you everything all the books in your library have to say about a particular verse. We’ll be addressing that in two ways. First, the Advanced Feature Set will contain a Library Search pane that will let you not only search your entire library for a given word or phrase, but also for a given verse. So you’ll be able to see which commentaries contain a discussion of a given passage, then quickly link there to read more.

In addition to Library Search, the Advanced Feature Set will contain an updated version of Autostudy from PocketBible for iOS. This feature lets you automatically create a document containing everything your library has to say about a given word or verse. Autostudy documents can be viewed inside PocketBible but can also be printed, saved as PDF, or saved as an HTML file that can be opened in your browser or word processor.

Conclusions

We’re pretty pleased with this review. We feel like we either have already addressed or will very shortly be addressing every shortcoming Kevin mentioned. Kevin accurately describes PocketBible for OS X as “lightning fast and simple to master”, which is exactly what we were going for. If you want to follow Kevin’s advice to “drop everything and download PocketBible for Mac” you can do so here!

PocketBible for Mac OS X is Now Available

Posted on: August 22nd, 2014 by Craig Rairdin 7 Comments

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 6.56.40 PMWe’re pleased to announce that version 1.0 of PocketBible for Mac OS X is now available for download at the Laridian website! You can find out more about PocketBible and hundreds of Bibles and reference books available now for Mac here.

Easier Searching

The Mac version of PocketBible implements an improved search algorithm we first introduced in PocketBible for Android a few weeks ago. Rather than asking you to learn the language of Boolean algebra and regular expressions in order to be able to formulate a search specification, PocketBible allows you to simply tell it what you’re looking for, like ”faith comes by hearing”. PocketBible performs about a dozen parallel searches to find not only every verse in which the phrase you’re searching for occurs, but also verses in which words that sound like or have the same root word as the words you’re looking for appear in the same order or close to the same order as you entered them. The result is that PocketBible for Mac OS X is more likely to find the verse you’re looking for than were previous versions. So a search for “faith comes by hearing” finds Romans 10:7 in the KJV even though in that verse, “comes” is “cometh”.

PocketBible for Mac also takes advantages of capabilities of our electronic books that we have never exposed before. For example, you can search a commentary not just for its discussion of a passage, but for everywhere the passage is mentioned.

Download Free

PocketBible for Mac requires OS X 10.7 and is available as a free download. Installation is easy: open the downloaded disk image and drag the PocketBible icon to the Applications folder (just like any number of Mac apps you download from the Web). PocketBible will prompt you to create an account or log into your existing account to gain access to dozens of free Bibles and reference books, or in the case that you are already a Laridian Bible software user on another platform, access to Bibles and books you’ve previously purchased for use in that program. Once you’ve entered your login credentials, you download books directly from the “Cloud Library” feature of the program as opposed to downloading an installation program from our website. Watch instructions below:

Sync your Personal Data

If you have notes, highlights, bookmarks, or devotional reading progress in another version of PocketBible that you have sync’ed to the Laridian Cloud server, you can turn on automatic synchronization in PocketBible for Mac and have access to all your user-created data on that platform as well.

Customize the Screen Layout

PocketBible allows you to customize the screen layout, arranging books into any number of tiled panes. You can open any number of books in each pane. Panes can be resized, and books can be moved from one pane to another by simply dragging the tab corresponding to the book into the tab bar of the target pane.

There’s More to Come!

As good as PocketBible is, we’re not done with it yet! We’ll be implementing a number of advanced features that will be available for a nominal price. These include multiple tabbed layouts, the ability to rename your highlight colors, journal notes (notes that are not connected to a Bible verse), and an expanded Autostudy feature you may have seen in PocketBible for iOS. We’ll have more to say about the Advanced Feature Set in upcoming weeks.

In the meantime, the best way to find out how PocketBible for Mac OS X can enhance your Bible study is to download it today!

PocketBible for Mac OS: Design Principles

Posted on: July 8th, 2013 by Craig Rairdin 5 Comments

PocketBible for Mac OSWhile it may not be evident from the outside, there are certain philosophies, both of Bible study and software design, that strongly influence each of our Bible study apps regardless of platform. While we’re not at a point where we can give a concrete demonstration of PocketBible for Mac OS, we can talk about how those philosophies will influence our work.

In no particular order:

You should spend most of your time in PocketBible wrestling with the Bible text, not with your Bible software. This means that frequently accessed functionality should be immediately available, and that you shouldn’t have to deal with overlapping windows that obscure the text you’re trying to read. You shouldn’t be thinking about how to arrange things on the screen or how to access basic functions like navigating to a verse or creating a note, but instead be thinking about what you’re reading and how it applies to your life.

While we should consider specific use cases and how they are served by our design, we shouldn’t design around the use cases. We think a lot about all the things you might want to do with your Bible software, like search for a word, compare Bible translations, and view a commentary on a passage. This list of ways that you use our software defines a set of “use cases” (or “user stories”).

Informally, a “use case” or “user story” is a combination of a specific goal (“User must be able to search the text for a given word or phrase”) and a description of the steps or interactions with the program necessary to meet that goal. Programmers use these use cases as part of validating that their solution meets the user’s requirements.

Some Bible software companies make the mistake of creating new user interface elements for every use case. In these programs, when you’re in “search mode” the program looks and behaves differently than it does while just browsing through the text. When you want to compare two translations of the Bible, the second one pops up in a window that may obscure a portion of what you’re reading, and which doesn’t have all the functionality you have in your “main” Bible. And the only way to view a commentary might be to split your Bible window to show a commentary beneath it, with no consideration given to how you might open a second commentary or that you might not want to lose space for Bible text when viewing a commentary. And while you might consider “commentaries” and “dictionaries” to be just “reference books” and expect them to work similarly, the program might display dictionaries in the form of pop-up windows when activated for a particular word, covering other text and behaving differently than commentaries, devotionals and other reference books.

We will try to create a flexible user interface where, for example, search results, bookmark lists, lists of notes, and other “lists of verses” share a common user interface component or pattern, and where opening a Bible to compare to the current one is no different than opening a dictionary, commentary, devotional, or any other book. There’s less to learn and there are fewer surprises.

PocketBible for Mac OS should not necessarily look like PocketBible for Windows, PocketBible for Android, or even PocketBible for iOS. While it should share a lot of design, algorithms, and even code with those platforms, it should look and feel like a Mac app, not a Windows app ported to the Mac or even an iOS app ported to the Mac. We like to take the best features of all our previous apps and combine them with fixes to the mistakes we made in previous apps and wrap them in a user interface that is consistent with the other apps on the target platform.

Mac users should not feel like they are being accommodated, but rather that Laridian considers Mac to be a primary platform for its products, and PocketBible for Mac a flagship product. We confess that we treat certain platforms as second-class citizens. For example, both our BlackBerry and webOS apps were “Bible only” apps, and neither shared the LBK file format used by our other apps. BlackBerry was primarily an enterprise (business) platform, and the future of webOS was always doubtful. This made it difficult to commit the time and money to those platforms that would’ve been necessary to really do them right. Mac OS is different. It is our intention to make it difficult to tell if we’re “Mac people” or “Windows people” because of our level of commitment to both platforms.

PocketBible for Mac OS will focus on the needs of the 99% of Christians who are neither “clergy” nor “Bible scholars”. Most of our customers occupy the pews on Sunday morning and work in secular jobs during the week. While many are Sunday School teachers or Bible study leaders and a few are pastors, most are simply everyday Christians with a love of the Bible. Some have some experience with Greek or Hebrew, but most don’t do their daily devotional reading from the Greek New Testament. PocketBible for Mac OS may include resources like the Greek New Testament and meaty, scholarly commentaries, but its focus will be on concise, accessible works that help the average Christian understand and apply the teachings of the Bible in their daily walk. It’s not that we have a disdain for the original languages, but rather that, as Bible software users and everyday Christians ourselves, we understand there are people out there who understand those languages significantly better than we do, and it’s better, faster, and easier for us to read what they’ve written in English about the Bible than to depend on our own spotty and questionable original language knowledge.

Of course, the 1% of you who dream in Greek will want a different Bible study app. PocketBible may not be for you. We understand that; you’re not our target user.

Given a choice, we will take functionality over complexity; usability over displays of our technical prowess, and simplicity over beauty. We’re not trying to solve every problem in the field of computerized Bible study, but instead we’re trying to provide a tool that can help you solve the most common problems you encounter in your everyday study of the BIble. We’re not trying to flex our programming muscles to win your admiration, but instead give you something you can be expected to use and understand with minimal learning time. We feel that beauty is often only skin-deep; that simplicity and elegance are beautiful in their own way. You may find another girl who looks prettier, but PocketBible is the girl you want to take home to meet your parents and be with forever.

We hope this helps you understand more about how we think about Bible software, how we try to focus on the way you study the Bible, and that you can see how that is implemented in PocketBible for Mac OS X.

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