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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

PocketBible for Mac OS X Update

Posted on: January 9th, 2014 by Craig Rairdin 4 Comments

PocketBible for Mac OS X 1-9-14It’s been a while since I updated you on our progress on PocketBible for Mac OS X, so I thought I’d do that here.

For those of you who don’t follow us as closely as we’d like to think you all do, last summer we launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the development of a Mac OS X version of PocketBible. The campaign was successful, so in August we started working on it.

We ran into some problems right away, as iOS 7 took a large percentage of our attention in September and November. And in October. And quite a bit in December. But I think that is behind us.

As you can see, there is some rudimentary functionality in place. I spent a lot of time up-front working on details of the user interface. I’m trying to build a sturdy framework on which to hang functionality. So it may seem like the program doesn’t do much yet, and it doesn’t. But there is a lot going on under the hood.

For example, all the shared C++ code that reads our Laridian Book (LBK) files has been imported into the program and is working great. You’re seeing real Bible text being displayed. And the program is able to access our server to get a list of the books you own (well, currently, it always gets the list of books I own, but once I add some user interface so you can enter your own customer ID and password, it will get your list). It allows you to maintain multiple layouts so that you can configure one for devotional reading, one for sermon prep, one for Greek word studies, etc. without having to open and close books all the time.

PocketBible Mac OS X Cloud Lib 1-9-2014While implementing PocketBible for Windows Phone and Windows Store, we added a capability to download cover art for every book. I’m taking advantage of that in the Mac version to display cover art for every book when you go to download it, and again when you select a book to open. Cover art is downloaded in a “background thread” which just means it doesn’t make you wait while it gets all those image files. It is cached locally so you don’t have to download it every time.

The screen shot on the right shows the “Cloud Library” function where you see a list of all the books you own. Unlike the iOS version of PocketBible, the list is organized by type of book (Bibles, commentaries, dictionaries, etc.) to make it easier to navigate. Books you’ve already downloaded are dimmed, or you can check the box to hide them entirely.

The “Open Book” dialog looks very similar, except it only shows you books that you’ve already downloaded from our server and installed on your Mac.

The program will support the “type-n-go” feature of the Windows Desktop version. This allows you to simply type “John 3:16″ to go to that verse, or even type “find jesus” to find everywhere in the Bible “Jesus” is mentioned. I’ve implemented an early form of this feature, which is really handy for testing. That is, I can test my go-to-verse functionality before inventing a fancy book/chapter/verse chooser.

Even though a large percentage of the code is shared with PocketBible for iOS (developing for iOS and for Mac uses the same Xcode programming environment, Cocoa class library, and Objective-C/C++ programming languages), a lot of the design of the text display system will actually be ported from the Java code in our Android version. This means we’ll be able to have continuous scrolling of the text, which we chose not to support in the iOS version.

Remember that we carefully construct our screen shots to hide all the bugs. Don’t assume since you’re looking at Bible text that the program is done. We think we’re still on schedule but there’s a lot left to do. I just thought I’d bring you up to date.

If you’re a Kickstarter contributor but you have not been notified yet about your reward(s), please contact support@laridian.com and tell us about it. We think we’ve fulfilled all the rewards we can (obviously the program itself hasn’t shipped) so if you haven’t heard from us it means we must be missing you on our list.

New for PocketBible: N.T. Wright for Everyone Bible Study Guides

Posted on: December 12th, 2013 by Michelle Stramel 8 Comments

NT Wright for Everyone Study Guide Revelation coverN. T. Wright for Everyone Bible Study Guides are a series of 19 Bible study guides covering the entire New Testament for use with PocketBible.

Each guide covers one or more books of the New Testament. Each study uses the popular inductive Bible study method to explore the passage with notes and comments from New Testament Scholar, N.T. Wright. The guides can be used for individual or group study.

In keeping with the inductive Bible study method, each study includes three types of questions: observation questions, which ask about the basic facts in the passage; interpretation questions, which delve into the meaning of the passage; and application questions, which help you discover the implications of the text for growing in Christ. Each study also features selected comments from N.T. Wright’s New Testament For Everyone commentary series. These notes provide further biblical and cultural background and contextual information.

N.T. Wright was formerly Bishop of Durham in the Church of England from 2003 until his retirement in 2010. He is currently research professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

N.T. Wright for Everyone Bible Study Guides each requires PocketBible for iPhone/iPad/iPod touch, PocketBible for Android, PocketBible for Windows Phone, PocketBible for Windows Store, PocketBible for Windows PC or MyBible for Palm OS. Individual volumes are priced at $7.99 to $9.99 each. A bundle of all 19 volumes is available for $124.99 and saves you 25% over purchasing the titles separately.

Please note: Our license agreement with the publisher of this series restricts our distribution to certain areas of the world. We’re not allowed to sell these titles to customers outside of the United States, Canada and Mexico.

PocketBible 3 for iOS Now Available on the App Store

Posted on: October 31st, 2013 by Craig Rairdin 38 Comments

PocketBible 3 is now available on the App Store! Version 3 is fully iOS 7 compatible but runs on iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch devices back to version 5.

PocketBible 3 is still free, and for existing PocketBible 2 users it should show up as an available update. If you already own the Advanced Feature Set, it will unlock the Advanced Features of version 3.

What’s New

As you can see here, PocketBible 3 introduces our new iconography for iOS, which is based on the “Holy Spirit descending like a dove” from the old stained-glass icon from version 2. So don’t be surprised when you can’t find the old PocketBible icon after you upgrade. Just look for the dove.

Here are a few things you will notice as new in version 3:

ADVANCED FEATURE SET

  • The Journal lets you create notes that aren’t associated with any Bible verse. In all other respects they act like notes in PocketBible, including being sync’ed to the Laridian cloud — though they will not yet be visible in versions of PocketBible running on other platforms.
  • Name your highlight colors to make it easier to remember what your colors mean.
  • All the previous Advanced Feature Set features from version 2 are present in version 3, and your version 2 Advanced Feature Set will enable the version 3 features without an additional purchase.

STANDARD FEATURES

  • Autosync allows you to automatically sync changes to your notes, highlights, bookmarks, and other user-created data with the Laridian Cloud without pausing to manually sync as you had to do with version 2. You have the option to require WiFi for autosync in order to avoid data charges. Manual sync is still available, and it runs much faster than the older sync protocol.
  • Added underline, dotted underline, and dashed underline highlight styles.
  • Added option to display one verse per paragraph. (Start each verse on a new line.)
  • Now supports book (non-Bible) notes on iPhone. Previously, these were only available on iPad.
  • Added a Night Reading color scheme which puts white text on a black background for reading in the dark.
  • iOS 7 users will have multiple user interface color schemes in addition to “Night Reading”.
  • Optional Book Position Indicator at the bottom of each book pane shows you how far into the book you are.
  • Added Pane Options button to the iPad toolbar. Lets you turn on/off tabbed panes and select the number of panes you’re viewing.
  • Better management of notes, highlights, and bookmarks by being able to delete them from lists using the standard iOS “swipe” gesture. When deleting a category, all the bookmarks in that category are now deleted rather than being moved to “uncategorized” as they were before.
  • Improved the iPad launch speed for users with lots of notes, highlights, or bookmarks.
  • A number of small user interface tweaks, including:
    • Rearranged the Main, Context, and Settings menus to move frequently accessed items to the top and collect similar operations together under task-related headings.
    • Got rid of Undo and Redo in the iPhone note editor; added Bold, Italics, and Unordered List buttons to the iPhone note editor toolbar.
    • Made the Toolbox Expand, Next Page, and Previous Page buttons smaller to increase the space available for the contents of the Toolbox panels. On the Note View/Edit panels, rearranged the controls at the top to provide more room to view the note.
    • Added Email Passage and Text Passage to the list of possible “Passage Actions” in the Context menu.

Here’s what to Expect

Here are some screen shots to let you see what the new version looks like. Visually, it’s similar to the previous one. Most of these images use the default color scheme. Click on an image to see a full-size version.

iPad

iPad with Toolbox, Toolbar with new Book Panes button, and default color scheme

iPad in landscape with Toolbox, multiple book panes, and Context menu

iPad with my favorite “Chocolate” color scheme, also showing Book Progress Indicator bars across the bottom of each book pane.

iPhone

Other than the iOS 7 color scheme, the iPhone version looks pretty similar to version 2.

An early beta view of the “Night Reading” color scheme on the iPhone. Toolbar buttons are in red to aid in retention of night vision.

New for PocketBible: Hard Sayings of the Bible

Posted on: September 19th, 2013 by Michelle Stramel No Comments

Hard Sayings of the Bible CoverThis new PocketBible title from InterVarsity Press (IVP) is a unique commentary that focuses on the difficult passages of Scripture. Hard Sayings of the Bible was originally published in five volumes by IVP:

  • The Hard Sayings of Jesus by F.F. Bruce
  • Hard Sayings of the Old Testament by Walter C. Kaiser
  • More Hard Sayings of the Old Testament by Walter C. Kaiser
  • Hard Sayings of Paul by by Manfred T. Brauch
  • More Hard Sayings of the New Testament by Peter H. Davids

The PocketBible edition of Hard Sayings of the Bible combines these best-selling volumes into one volume along with new material from Walter Kaiser and Peter Davids. Over one hundred new verses have been added to the list of texts explained, as well as a dozen introductory articles addressing common questions that recur throughout the Bible.

The original “hard saying” of the Bible was John 6:53. This passage is explained as well as over 500 more. What makes a verse or passage a “hard saying?” “What F. F. Bruce wrote in his introduction to The Hard Sayings of Jesus can likely be said of nearly all the difficult texts in this collection: they may be hard for two different reasons. First are those that, because of differences in culture and time, are hard to understand without having their social and historical backgrounds explained. Second are those that are all too easily understood but that challenge the ways we think and act…”

Hard Sayings of the Bible requires PocketBible for iPhone/iPad/iPod touch, PocketBible for Windows Phone, PocketBible for Android, PocketBible for Windows Store, PocketBible for Windows PC or MyBible for Palm OS. The list price is $19.99.

PocketBible for Mac OS Successfully Funded!

Posted on: July 15th, 2013 by Craig Rairdin 3 Comments

PocketBible for Mac OS Kickstarter Project

We Made It!

Well, that was the most fun we’ve had in a long time!

We have been wanting to do a version of PocketBible for Mac OS X for several years. The problem is that we could never find any data to indicate that the market share for Mac was sufficient to justify the time and money we’d have to put into the project. Then earlier this year we had the idea to try Kickstarter to “crowd-fund” the project. This would prove to us that there was, in fact, a market for PocketBible for Mac, and would have the secondary benefit of providing funding for a portion of the project.

The trick was to select a funding goal that was high enough to make the project worthwhile but low enough that it wouldn’t be unreasonable to reach. You can take a guess at what a project like this might cost without me divulging any confidential information by looking at the average salary of a contract Mac programmer for the 10 months or so we think the project is going to take. With salary, taxes, benefits, space, and equipment, a programmer costs about $90K-$100K per year. To make it easy, we’ll use $96K ($8K/month), or $80K over the life of the project. Add our stretch goal of porting BookBuilder for Mac and figure there will be times when there will be a couple people working on the project and it’s pretty easy to get to $100K or more.

We were concerned that $100K might not be a reachable goal. The problem with Kickstarter is if you set a $100K goal and reach $90K, you get $0. So we had to consider what the minimum amount of funding would be that would prove to us there was a market but be reasonably reachable. After adding the cost of rewards and the fees charged by Kickstarter and Amazon, we settled in on $28,500. At the same time, we hoped you would take us past that point to help offset more of the costs.

Over the last 40 days or so, we’ve been anxiously watching how you responded to this project. Our initial email garnered about $12K in pledges. The project slowly climbed to just over $20K during the next three weeks as we approached the Fourth of July holiday. We planned on hitting the project hard once the holiday was past and you came through for us in that last week, taking us past $28,500 on July 10.

With five days remaining before our funding deadline, we re-evaluated our goal and considered what it would cost to add BookBuilder Pro to the project. We thought another $5K would be achievable and would take care of a major share of the added cost to do BookBuilder.

At that time it also occurred to us if we had some rewards to benefit our non-Mac-using customers, they might be willing to help out. So we added some rewards to appeal to our current customers on other platforms.

So we set a “stretch goal” of $33,500. A Kickstarter “stretch goal” is an informal term that someone came up with to describe a funding goal beyond the original goal. Normally the project is expanded in some way in response to reaching the stretch goal. It took less than three days for you to get us past that goal.

Over the last couple days of the campaign we picked up those who were motivated not so much by reaching the goal, but by the desire to lock in low prices on the various PocketBible Library collections and add-on books. Many of you also increased your pledges during that time to add add-on rewards.

What Now?

Kickstarter will begin collecting your pledges immediately. If it has problems collecting, it will make repeated attempts to contact you and encourage you to make good on your pledge. They tell us this process takes a couple weeks. We are not involved in the collection process; it is handled by Amazon. Amazon does not release any funds to us nor does Kickstarter give us access to our final backers list until this process is complete.

Once we get our final backers list, we’ll be contacting you to confirm your selection of add-on rewards. We anticipate this will take a couple more weeks, depending on how quickly everyone responds. Once this is complete, we’ll fulfill rewards for add-on books that can be fulfilled without waiting for the completion of the project. (That is, the six add-on rewards consisting of add-on books for non-Mac platforms.) The rest of the rewards will not be fulfilled until the project is complete, of course.

Also at this point (that is, once funding is received) work will begin in earnest on the project. My plan is to post updates through Kickstarter for our backers on a regular basis, sharing progress with you as often as I can. I’ll also be sharing updates here on the blog, though not as often.

When Will We See Alpha and Beta Test Versions of PocketBible for Mac?

“Alpha” versions of the program are not feature-complete and are used for the purpose of evaluating user interface concepts and testing some functionality of the program. “Beta” versions are feature-complete (or very close to feature-complete) and are intended for more practical testing of all of the features of the program.

At this point I can’t say when those versions will be released, but I can say that distribution of alpha- and beta-test versions of PocketBible for Mac OS will be limited to our Kickstarter backers. As a result, I’ll be making those announcements through Kickstarter in the form of private project updates.

Thanks!

So… we have a lot of work ahead of us. On behalf of everyone here at Laridian I want to thank you for proving there is a market for PocketBible for Mac, being willing to put your money on the line to fund this project, and for having faith in us to complete it successfully. We are grateful for those of you who have contacted us to encourage us and let us know you’re praying for us. We hope to be found worthy of your trust.

PocketBible for Mac OS!!

Posted on: June 3rd, 2013 by Craig Rairdin 16 Comments

PocketBible for Mac OS Kickstarter Project

You’ve been asking about a version of PocketBible for the Mac for years — now’s your chance to make it happen! We’ve started a Kickstarter project to raise the funds necessary to create a version of PocketBible for Mac OS, and we need your help to reach our goal!

Kickstarter is a “crowd-funding” site that lets you pledge financial support to projects you believe in. In return for a minimal pledge, you get a reward. Our rewards start at the $25 level and go all the way up to $1000 ($5000 for our publishing partners). So, for example, for a minimum pledge of $100, you’ll get our 2014 Silver Edition PocketBible Library for Mac when it is released, plus you’ll get the “Advanced Features” add-on for PocketBible for Mac OS. Total value is a little over $100, plus you’ll have the benefit of knowing you helped make PocketBible for Mac OS happen!

You do not pay, nor do we receive any of the money, unless we reach our funding goal before the deadline of July 15. So you don’t have to worry about getting charged for an underfunded project that will never be completed. We’ve set a very modest funding goal of $28,500 mainly to verify that there is, in fact, a real market for PocketBible for Mac OS. If we reach this goal, we’ll kick in the balance of the funding it will take to complete this project.

If you pledge to the project, you’ll get regular project updates as we work on PocketBible for Mac OS. You’ll be able to “watch the sausage being made”, as they say. It should be interesting, and we’re really looking forward to having a version of PocketBible for Mac OS! We’re Mac users here, too, and it would be great to have PocketBible on our Macs!

You can read all the details at our Kickstarter project page.

If you want a version of PocketBible for the Mac, now is the time to make a pledge and support the project!

Updated: PocketBible for Windows Store

Posted on: June 1st, 2013 by Michelle Stramel No Comments

Windows 8 users, an update to PocketBible is now available on the Windows Store.

Enhancements to this Version 2.1 include:

  • Automatically update the application’s tile with the current book and position
  • Save and re-use multiple layouts, enabling you to save the layout (panes and books) exactly as it was and come back to it
  • New 3-pane layout option for convenient arranging of your books
  • Go to a bible verse by typing it into the verse table of contents flyout
  • Make multiple selections in the device library
  • Open one or more books directly from the device or cloud library application bar
  • Book selection context menu now displays the book titles sorted

Download PocketBible for Windows Store for free!

NOTE: Some of the features mentioned above may require the purchase of the Advanced Feature Set.

PocketBible 2.0 now available on the Windows Phone Store

Posted on: May 10th, 2013 by Michelle Stramel No Comments

We’re happy to announce that version 2 of PocketBible for Windows Phone is now available for free download at the Windows Phone Store.

For those using the standard edition of Windows Phone, you’ll find many usability enhancements including better images in the cloud library, being able to pause and resume downloading via buttons in the cloud library, improvements in back button behavior (set this to exit program if you’d like) and more.

For those using the Advanced Feature set with PocketBible for Windows Phone, a major new feature is the ability to synchronize your data including bookmarks, notes, highlights and reading progress with the Laridian server and other devices running PocketBible.

If you have a Windows Phone 8 device and are using Advanced Features you can take advantage of the great new voice capabilities of PocketBible. Have the program read Bibles and books outloud to you. Or use voice commands to launch PocketBible and open it at a specific verse.

Version 2 of PocketBible for Windows Phone is a free download from the Windows Phone Store. Advanced Features can be purchased from within the app for only $6.99.

Now available! PocketBible for Windows Store

Posted on: May 9th, 2013 by Michelle Stramel 23 Comments

Windows 8 users, this one’s for you! We are pleased to announce the availability of PocketBible on the Windows Store. Download it now for free!

PocketBible for Windows Store runs on devices using Windows 8 (includes tablets, laptops, desktops). We think you’ll find this an amazing new version of PocketBible with a true Windows 8 look and feel! PocketBible for Windows Store features include:

  • 40+ Free Bibles and books with registration. Download past purchases of Bibles and books into the app at no charge. The 20 title download limit in the app can be exceeded with purchase of Advanced Feature Set ($6.99).
  • Move easily through Bibles and books by simply scrolling. Quickly move around the bible using an intuitive table of contents display
  • Quickly find any word or phrase
  • Split screen display
  • Mark your place with bookmarks
  • Share verses by Text, Email or Facebook
  • Use the daily reading feature to visually track your progress through a devotional book
  • Pin a book to your start screen!

We hope you’ll support continued development of PocketBible on this platform by purchasing the Advanced Feature Set for $6.99. Advanced Features include:

  • Highlighting of Bible text
  • Add notes to any verse of the Bible
  • Synchronize bookmarks, highlights and bookmarks with our server and your other devices that use PocketBible (and are able to synchronize)
  • Split screen into 2 to 5 windows
  • Download as many Bibles and books as you own (no limit but based on what you own)
  • Quickly access recent verses

If you are using Windows 8, we hope you’ll give PocketBible for Windows Store a try and let us know what you think!

PocketBible for Windows Phone now available!

Posted on: March 1st, 2013 by Michelle Stramel 19 Comments

We’re happy to announce that PocketBible for Windows Phone is now available for free download at the Windows Phone Store. This version of PocketBible works with Windows Phone 7.5 or later.

PocketBible for Windows Phone is designed to help you read and study the Bible on-the-go. It comes with the KJV Bible and you’ll be able to choose from 40 additional Bibles and reference books to download after registration. You will also be able to use any Laridian titles you’ve purchased in the past in this new program. An internet connection is not needed after initial download.

The standard features included with the free version of PocketBible for Windows Phone allow you to install up to 20 books at a time and use them for reading and studying. You can also search through and bookmark your books. Advanced Features are available for $6.99 and allow you to download an unlimited number of titles, view multiple books at once, add highlighting and notes and more. Additional Bibles and books can be purchased for use with the program at the Laridian website.

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