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Archive for the ‘Product Updates’ Category

PocketBible for Android Now on Google Play!

Posted on: February 22nd, 2013 by Craig Rairdin 90 Comments

You can now download PocketBible for Android directly from Google Play. This has the advantage of giving you automatic update notifications and allows those users who cannot install third-party software outside Google Play to download the app. For those of you who have devices that do not have Google Play, you can still download the program directly from us by just entering LPB.cc/android into your Web browser on your Android device.

This doesn’t mean we’re done working on PocketBible for Android. We set a goal for ourselves of having certain features implemented prior to release on Google Play and once that goal was reached we uploaded the program. But we continue to add features. In particular, we need to get notes, highlights, and bookmarks working in the program, along with tracking of your devotional reading progress. These features will be enhanced as compared to our iOS (iPhone/iPad) version, as your data will be kept in continuous sync with “Laridian cloud” instead of requiring you to stop what you’re doing and perform a sync operation manually.

The released version of PocketBible for Android on the Google Play store should install over your “alpha” version. You shouldn’t have to delete the program before installing from Google Play, nor should you have to re-download your Bibles and books when you’re done.

The new version includes built-in help, so the old blog article that contained operating instructions will be retired soon.

We want to thank those of you who have been using the “alpha” versions of PocketBible from our site. We’ve been able to eliminate most of the major show-stopping bugs with your help.

Going forward, if you need help with PocketBible for Android, contact Technical Support through the “Help Desk” link on our website.

PocketBible 2.0.6 Available on the App Store

Posted on: October 31st, 2012 by Craig Rairdin 14 Comments

We’ve just been notified that our latest update to PocketBible (version 2.0.6) has been approved by Apple. It should become available in the App Store over the next 24 hours.

We apologize for the delay getting our iOS6-compatibility fixes into PocketBible. We ran into a couple of issues getting our update past the Apple approval process. In the end, being forced to address those issues caused us to find a couple tricky bugs that wouldn’t have turned up otherwise. But the whole process ended up taking longer than we wanted.

The complete list of new features and bug fixes is below, but a couple are worth highlighting. First, this version adds support for the Greek New Testament. You should find the SBL Greek New Testament in your list of downloadable books in “Add/Remove Books”. There are instructions in the built-in Help for enabling the Greek keyboard so that you can do searches in Greek.

Several bugs introduced in iOS 6 have been circumvented. In particular, you may have noticed PocketBible would only read the first verse on the screen to you when you asked it to start reading. This has been fixed. And it’s not really a bug, but PocketBible will now take advantage of the full height of the screen on the iPhone 5. (This wouldn’t have been a problem except that Apple “lies” to our app when we request the size of the iPhone 5 screen, apparently to maintain compatibility with apps that aren’t as clever as PocketBible by making them think they’re running on an older device.)

I believe we’ve finally fixed the problem of books and voices disappearing when memory runs low. Apple changed the way they do this a couple of times over the last year or so and kept defeating our efforts to preserve our files. We think we have it figured out now.

Finally, PocketBible now requires at least iOS 5. The latest version of the development tools only produces ARMv7 binaries and there are no ARMv7 devices that don’t support iOS 5. We’d like to support older versions of the operating system, but we’re limited by what the development tools support.

 

What’s new in this version?

  • Support for the SBL Greek New Testament including display, searching and copy/paste.
  • Added “Find Selection” to the Selection menu. Rearranged the Selection and Context menus to put more frequently used items closer to the top.
  • iOS 6 compatiblity including:
    • Fixed a bug where PocketBible would stop after one verse when speaking the text
    • Addressed rotation issues
    • Added 4″ Retina launch image and support for the full height of the new iPhone 5 screen
  • Bug fixes including
    • Fixed a bug in certain books with images where they did not appear when “shrink to fit” was selected
    • Changed the way text is selected to address sluggishness on devices with Retina displays
    • Fixed a problem that manifested in ZIBBCNT and HBH where images in tables were not shown if “shrink images to fit” was selected.
    • Made sure the built-in KJV, Help, and Welcome documents plus downloaded voices all get marked as “do not back up to iCloud”.
    • Related to the above, downloaded books and voices were moved to a folder that should not be purged under low memory conditions.
  • Set the minimum iOS version supported to 5.0.

NEW! Export, Share and Publish your PocketBible Notes, Bookmarks and Highlights

Posted on: October 16th, 2012 by Michelle Stramel 26 Comments

Are you a prolific note-taker, highlighter or bookmarker in PocketBible? We have wonderful news for you! We have a new option on our website that lets you instantly pull your personal data (notes, highlights and bookmarks) out of PocketBible for the purpose of sharing, re-purposing or turning into your own PocketBible book (with BookBuilder). Whichever you want to do!

Possibilities abound

Over the years, PocketBible users have asked for the ability to export their valuable personal data out of the program. Yes, you can now do this but we’ve taken it a step further. You choose whether you want to export your notes, highlights or bookmarks. With any of those three options, we provide you with an html file that you can:

  • Use as-is
  • Bring into a text editor and reformat and publish in a format for sharing (i.e. PDF, .doc, .txt, etc.)
  • Publish as a PocketBible book using Laridian BookBuilder program (sold separately)

What kind of book could you publish for PocketBible?

  • A dictionary of your Bible bookmarks, where each dictionary entry is a bookmark category.
  • A commentary based on your verse notes.
  • A dictionary of your Bible highlights, where each dictionary entry is a highlight color.

To encourage your self-publishing efforts, we’ve lowered the prices of both versions of BookBuilder:

There’s never been a better time to consider publishing a PocketBible book!

Getting Started

The first step is to synchronize your PocketBible data with the Laridian Server. A synchronization option is available in every version of PocketBible (except Android OS – still to come!) The second step is to login to your account on the Laridian website and choose the new My Data link. You’ll find complete information on what you can do with your data and how to do it.

Let us know what you think

We hope you like this new flexibility in using your personal PocketBible data. Is this something you will use? Let us know how you will share your writings in the comments below.

Greek New Testament Now Available for PocketBible for Windows

Posted on: September 12th, 2012 by Michelle Stramel 7 Comments


The SBL Greek New Testament is now available for use with PocketBible for Windows (versions 1.100 and later).

The SBL Greek New Testament is a new text edited by Michael W. Holmes. Mr. Holmes utilized a wide range of printed editions, all the major critical apparatuses, and the latest technical resources and manuscript discoveries as he established the text. The result is a critically edited text that differs from the Nestle-Aland/United Bible Societies text in more than 540 variation units. This new text was jointly sponsored by the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) and Logo Bible Software to provide a free, reliable, critically edited version of the Greek New Testament for use by students, teachers, pastors and laypeople throughout the world.

The PocketBible version of this text is available for use with PocketBible for Windows, Windows PC-based Bible software which can be ordered and downloaded for free. Current users of PocketBible for Windows will need to update to version 1.100 (book reader engine version 1.071) to use the Greek text. This can be done by logging in to your Laridian account at the Laridian web site and downloading the latest version of the software.

PocketBible for Windows Updated

Version 1.100 of PocketBible for Windows includes the following updates and fixes:

  • Support for Greek books:
    • Searching
      • Added underscore (_) as a wildcard character that matches zero or more diacritical marks
      • Modified question mark (?) wildcard character to match one character and its attached diacritical marks
      • Enabled Greek character support in the search entry fields
      • Searching requires the installation of a Greek keyboard input method in Windows, which is done through the Control Panel and is fully described in the updated Help included with the program
    • Hover text (tool tips)
    • Copy/Paste
    • Added capital letters with iota subscript to Laridian Greek font
    • Normalized the order of Greek diacriticals in books, search phrases, and notes
  • Note Editor changes:
    • Added <pb_lang> HTML Helper
    • Used the font and size selected by the user for the Note Tab in the Personalization Window. Notes are now displayed and edited using the same font.
  • Other enhancements:
    • Changed the behavior of phrase searches so that punctuation between words in a book will not cause it not to match
    • Updated the Help file
  • Bug fixes:
    • Fixed a bug introduced in 1.014 where the wrong Bible abbreviation would be attached to text copied using Copy Passage (“KJVEC” instead of “KJV” and “HCSBEC” instead of “HCSB”.
    • Fixed a long-standing bug in which browsing to a new verse while editing a note with the note lock turned off would cause an error, and doing so with the lock turned on would cause the note to be saved to the current verse instead of the verse it was originally on. Also put code in place to keep user from editing or deleting a note that was already being edited.
    • Fixed a bug in which accented characters in the name of a book or Bible were displayed as HTML character entities instead of the actual character.
    • Fixed a long-standing bug in which the left mouse button appeared to be stuck down after opening or closing a book in parallel display mode. This caused text to be highlighted as the mouse was moved until the user clicked the mouse or toggled the “parallel” button.
    • Fixed a problem in which book categories were not indicated correctly for the NABRE. (May not have affected the Windows version.)

Why Have All My Books Been Updated?

Posted on: February 1st, 2012 by Craig Rairdin 2 Comments
If you’re using PocketBible on your iPhone or iPad, you may have noticed a message on the “Add/Remove Books” screen saying that many of your books have been updated. You’ll also see a similar message if you use PocketBible for Windows or one of the older mobile platforms and visit the “Downloads” page in your account at our website.

I mentioned in a recent Android update that we were going to have to rebuild all our books to support some new search features in the Android version of PocketBible. That turned out to be a 6-8 week rather than a 1-2 week exercise. Part of the reason is that since we had to touch every book that we publish, we used that opportunity to fix all the reported errors that we had on file for each book.

Many of these errors are all but invisible to the user. As a result we tend to let them accumulate for a while rather than jumping on every typo and minor formatting error as soon as we hear about it. The problem is that those things add up after a while and frankly our list had gotten overwhelming. We had one BookBuilder customer who volunteered to help a while back. He did a few books but then gave up. So this seemed like a great opportunity to just clean that list out since we had to look at every single book anyway.

In order to minimize the load on the server from everyone being told all their books had been updated, we created a way we could update the files on the server without the server thinking they had been updated. So the only time we allowed the server to know a particular book had been updated was if it was on the list of books in which noticeable changes had been made. If all we did was change “Laridian Electronic Publishing” to “Laridian, Inc.” (because one is our name and one is not) in the book’s meta data, we didn’t bother to have the server tell you about the change. But if we fixed a number of links or typographical errors — something you would notice — we had the server tell you about it.

We were also a little concerned about the load on the server if everyone went out and started re-downloading all their books. So we didn’t make a big deal about it, and we uploaded the books a few at a time over the last couple of months.

So if PocketBible or our website is telling you that a book has been updated, it means we fixed something that you might notice if you were paying close attention. In reality all the books were updated, but none of our programs currently make use of the new features that necessitated the update. So it’s only necessary to update the ones that say they need to be updated, and then you really only need to update them if you’re picky about every little typo.

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 12 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. :-)

PrayerPartner 1.2.1 Update Available

Posted on: April 25th, 2011 by Craig Rairdin 18 Comments

An update of PrayerPartner is now available in the Apple App Store. This update provides two new features.

See prayer requests in random order. PrayerPartner typically shows your prayer request in calendar order, either oldest to newest or newest to oldest, depending upon your preferences. As you consistently and repeatedly work through the various requests in the same order, you’ll find that you’ll recall the requests more and more, even during times when you aren’t using PrayerPartner. However, this same consistent presentation may result in an unintended staleness, as the requests never seem to change. If you find this happening to you, you can now choose to review your requests in random order. The requests will be randomized daily, so the order will be consistent on any given day.

Use iTunes Document Sharing to backup or move your requests to another iOS device. One consistent misunderstanding revealed in customer comments in the App Store is that PrayerPartner doesn’t backup its requests. In fact, iTunes performs backups every time that you synchronize, without PrayerPartner needing to do anything special. However, for those that like more control, or that want to directly move their PrayerPartner database to another device, PrayerPartner now supports iTunes File Sharing. This allows you to use iTunes to copy the PrayerPartner database from the iOS device to your host computer, and then copy it back to the same or another device. Note that this is a direct copy (not a merge), so the copied file will replace any existing data that is present. You should also be sure to exit PrayerPartner before copying data. For those that like to get under the hood, this new feature will allow some additional flexibility.

I hope that PrayerPartner users will find these new features helpful!

PocketBible for iPhone/iPad 1.4.6 Available

Posted on: December 21st, 2010 by Craig Rairdin 19 Comments

That was quick.

On Monday morning I uploaded version 1.4.6 to the App Store. On Tuesday night it was approved. Nice.

This version has just a few little bug fixes:

  • Fixed a bug in which the program would crash during synchronization of notes containing certain Unicode characters
  • Sped up wildcard searches (ones with asterisks on the end of the word to match all endings)
  • Fixed a bug in the Toolbox caused by iOS 4.2, in which list selection wasn’t retained
  • Fixed a long-standing and never-reported error in mapping verses from Daniel in the New American Bible to Daniel in the New Revised Standard Version.
  • Did a lot of work under the hood that (hopefully) you can’t see to set us up for some cool new features in version 2.

The wildcard search enhancement is interesting in that it is a direct result of porting the code to Java for Android. As I was going through the code it occurred to me there was a simple and faster way to do it. I implemented it the new way in Java then went back and updated the C++ code for PocketBible so it would have the same enhancement. This particular update also made it into an update of PocketBible for Windows back in October. Just one more way that Android is making the world a better place, I guess. :-)

Don’t get too excited about the mention of version 2. We haven’t said much about it yet and won’t be saying much for a while. I only mention the changes in case we happen to have broken something in the process. That will be our excuse. :-)

What we’ve done is completely re-written the way PocketBible keeps track of what Bibles and books are installed, and how it categorizes those books. For example, we weren’t differentiating between a “Bible” and a “Strong’s-numbered Bible”, nor between a “Dictionary” and a “Strong’s Dictionary”. We are now.

That particular change was needed for these new features I alluded to, but it also will come in handy for Android. I was going to have to do the same thing in the Java code. This way I don’t have to design it; I can just translate Jeff’s work. Thanks, Jeff!

In an unrelated bit of news, look for a new website design coming from us soon. We’re hoping to make it easier to find your way around; easier to buy books; and easier to work with your download account. We’re also making the site easier for us to maintain by reducing the overall number of hand-coded pages from a couple thousand down to a couple dozen. The rest are generated by scripts that run against a database. If you have an iPhone you’ve seen it already but don’t know it; the same technology underlies the “PocketBible Bookstore” that is built into PocketBible for iPhone.

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