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Archive for the ‘Tech Support – General’ Category

PocketBible for iPhone tip: Viewing images

Posted on: January 20th, 2012 by Michelle Stramel No Comments

If you are using PocketBible 2.0.3 (or later) on your iPhone or iPod touch, you will find it much easier and more enjoyable to view images than with previous versions. This is especially handy if you own our Bible Maps or one of our study Bibles or reference books that offer detailed charts or lists (i.e. ESV Study Bible or Ryken’s Bible Handbook).

In PocketBible 2.0.3 (and later), you can double-tap on an image to blow it up in a window where it can be zoomed and scrolled. It works best to go into Settings and mark it to “fit images to the screen,” then just double-tap the image when you want to view it 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 Bible Maps product do.

Which NIV is Which?

Posted on: September 23rd, 2011 by Craig Rairdin 10 Comments

Since the 2011 edition of the NIV was released for PocketBible, there’s been some confusion about how to tell the difference between the old and new versions when downloading or opening them in PocketBible. To make things even more complicated, there are two editions of both the 1984 and the 2011 versions of the NIV — one with and one without cross-references.

Today we took a couple steps toward clearing that up. First, when downloading the NIV — either at our website or from within PocketBible for iPhone or Android — you’ll see the “old” NIV identified as “New International Version (1984 NIV)”. There’s currently no difference between the name of the standard and cross-reference editions, but in PocketBible you can look at the size of the files to figure out which is which. The cross-reference edition is the larger of the two. When downloading from our website, you’ll see “XR” in the filename of the cross-reference edition.

Both in PocketBible and on the website the 2011 NIV will be called “New International Version (NIV)”. The cross-reference edition is called “New International Version (NIV Cross Ref Edition)”.

Of course when you purchase the NIV you’re always purchasing the latest version, which is the 2011 version of the text.

The second change is in the “Open Book” functionality of the iPhone and Android programs. The next release of each of these programs will be able to distinguish between these four editions of the NIV better than the current releases do. But you’ll have to wait to see these versions of the program; the iPhone version will be uploaded to the App Store today and is awaiting Apple’s approval, and the Android version is still in process.

In the meantime, the 1984 NIV will appear as “The Holy Bible: New International Version” in your list of Bibles and the 2011 NIV will be simply “New International Version”. The only way to tell the difference between the cross-reference and non cross-reference versions is to open them up and look. One way around this is to only install one or the other. And in the iPhone version you can disable the display of footnotes, which would allow you to just download the cross-reference edition and turn notes off if you don’t want to see the cross references.

The features that were rolled into the code today will allow us to distinguish situations like this better in the future, once the changes propagate through all our readers and we update the affected books and Bibles.

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.

iPhone feature: Switching between a split window

Posted on: June 14th, 2011 by Michelle Stramel 14 Comments

Recently a customer sent in a feature request for PocketBible for iPhone that I thought was a great idea. He asked that we add a button on the toolbar so he could easily switch to a split screen with two books and then back again.

Shortly thereafter I was reading through the PocketBible Help book (not something I do often enough evidently) and discovered that we already have that feature! Simply hold down any place on the screen while you have PocketBible open and a context menu pops up that includes an option to change the screen from one open book to two. That’s as easy as a button on the toolbar! While you are looking at the pop-up screen, you’ll see a few more things you can easily do such as set a bookmark, add a note, close the book and more.

Maybe everyone else knows about this one but on the off chance that there are a few others out there like us that haven’t read the Help, I gladly share my discovery.

How do I find the maps and illustrations that are included with the ESV Study Bible on my iPhone?

Posted on: May 19th, 2011 by Michelle Stramel 1 Comment

One of the great features of study Bibles is all the extra reference information they provide but we sometimes get questions like this on how to locate them in PocketBible. Our answer to this question will apply to any of our study Bibles with extra features like maps, illustrations, charts, etc.

To find maps in a study Bible, you can use the Search feature in PocketBible and search on “maps” to find a list of maps. You can search on the word “chart” to find charts. For illustrations, search “see illustration” to find those.

You can also use the “GoTo” menu option and scroll through the Table of Contents for any book as they may have these extra study helps listed separately or indexed.

Final Update on Synchronization Progress

Posted on: June 9th, 2010 by Craig Rairdin 22 Comments

Good JobToday we uploaded version 1.012 of PocketBible for Windows, and version 1.002 of the Server Synchronization Provider (formerly known as the iPhone Sync Provider). These updates address three issues:

  1. Notes containing certain special characters could become corrupted in the synchronization process as those special characters were passed from platform to platform, each of which may have treated them differently.
  2. Because of differences in the way the PC and our server implemented the synchronization algorithm, “old” data from the PC could be deleted when syncing with existing data from an iPhone.
  3. Since we were making changes, we also changed the way the PC keeps track of the date/time of the last sync. The new method eliminates rare problems caused by differences in the system time between the server and your PC.

To get the latest version of PocketBible for Windows, simply log into your download account, download it, and install it.

To get the latest Server Sync Provider to replace your old iPhone Sync Provider, go to the PocketBible for Windows site ( and select “Synchronization Providers” from the Products menu at the top of the page. Follow the instructions near the bottom of the page to download and install the Sync Provider.

The previous version of PocketBible should refuse to work with the new sync provider, and the new sync provider will refuse to work with the old version of PocketBible. So if you don’t get them installed correctly the program will tell you.

An important new feature added to PocketBible for Windows is the ability to reset your sync history. This forces PocketBible to treat the next sync as if it is the first. If you ever have to restore your PocketBible for Windows user data database, you’ll want to reset the sync history or you risk confusing the sync algorithm. When it sees that you have old data in your database that is no longer on the server, it will delete the data you just restored from your backup (thinking that you deleted it from the server). If you reset your sync history, it may find duplicates and ask you about them, but it won’t delete anything.

iPhone/iPad Users: There will be an update to the iPhone/iPad version of PocketBible to make some adjustments to the way certain special characters are handled. We currently are planning to roll this into our “iPhone 4″ update, which will be uploaded to Apple just as soon as we can.

Thanks for your patience while we worked on these updates.

Why We Don’t Talk About What May or May Not be Under Development

Posted on: December 14th, 2009 by Craig Rairdin 34 Comments

A recently posted comment questioned the wisdom of our policy of not talking about what may or may not be under development here. I thought I had discussed that policy here but apparently I haven’t.

As you know, before we started Laridian 11 years ago (October 1998) we spent ten years working at Parsons Technology. It was great to be able to make our mistakes at someone else’s expense before launching our own company. One of the things we learned was not to talk about our release dates before we were ready to ship a product.

There are two main reasons we’ve kept this policy over all these years and through two different companies. First, we don’t want to signal our plans to our competitors. We all compete for a limited number of customers. If we signal our intentions it helps other Bible software companies know how to allocate their limited resources to better compete with us.

The second reason we keep quiet about what we may or may not be working on is to avoid the extra work it creates. If we announce a product, we start getting calls and emails from people who want to know when it’s going to ship. If we announce a date and miss it (which is about a 100% probability in our business) then we have to deal with the customers who call or write to ask what’s going on. They always want to know an updated ship date, though if we missed it the first time I’m not sure why they think we’d get it right the second, third, or fourth time.

If we ignore those requests we’re perceived as unfriendly to our customers. So we have to take time to respond. You might argue that we have the same problem when we choose not to comment on what we’re doing. I can tell you, though, that it’s significantly different. When I can say, “We don’t talk about what may or may not be under development, but we appreciate your suggestions” it brings the discussion to a close. In fact in Tech Support that’s a predefined response that we can just paste into our reply and move on quickly. On the other hand, once we’ve opened the box and projected a ship date, we can’t easily close the box.

We have tried lifting this policy at various times. We did it for iPhone and it was OK for a while but when we ran into some technical issues that delayed the project by six months we ended up having to just shut off the flow of information for a while until we could figure out how to handle the issues. The combination of not really having anything helpful to say and having to answer a few customers who were downright nasty was difficult to deal with.

This raises the point that plans often change or are disrupted. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve completely changed our direction in an afternoon. Our decision to develop the original Web-based app for the iPhone (back when that was the only way you could do iPhone apps) was made on July 3, 2007 and a large amount of development on it happened on the July 4 holiday. Projects we had previously been working on were abandoned or delayed while we dedicated people to iPhone development. However, because none of this was public information, there was no time wasted explaining this massive change of direction to anyone. We didn’t have to apologize for missing a ship date, or reveal our plans for this new platform until we were completely ready to do so. (We actually hinted at it on July 5, but we didn’t really formally announce it until about three weeks later, when most of the work was done.)

I think part of our problem is that we want to be friendly and accessible. I think we’re way more accessible than most other software companies. I reply to every email sent to me, and we reply to all our tech support email in a timely fashion. (Just don’t call me at home. I mean, seriously, some people have no boundaries.) I reply to comments here on the blog. So the more information we have available and out there to talk about, the more time it takes. If we limit the information it helps us also limit the amount of communicating we have to do.

For example, I haven’t been tempted to give a long dissertation on the Android. It’s sufficient to say we may or may not be working on it. If you want to argue that it’s the Next Big Thing and that Google is obviously taking over the world and that we should just get over it and develop for Android, I can end the conversation by saying “we may or may not already be working on it”. I don’t have to get into a discussion of the relative size of the Android market vs. other platforms, the technical challenges of porting to Java, the state and maturity of the SDK, etc. I may or may not already agree with you. There’s no need for me to go into more detail. If I disagree with you, saying so might reveal our plans for the platform. If I agree with you, that also might reveal our plans. And I might be working on it while disagreeing with you on how great the platform is. Or I might not be working on it now, but agree with you and have plans to do it in the future. No matter what the situation is, commenting on it could lead you to the right or wrong conclusion, and now we’re back to the problem of signaling our intent to competitors and having to take time to communicate about it.

The obvious problem with this policy is that it may cost us some customers in the short term. However, if we’re not developing for a particular platform, then we plan to lose those customers anyway. If we are developing for the platform, we could still lose them in the time it takes for us to get our product out the door. So no matter what we do or plan to do, and no matter what we say, we still risk losing customers at any time. So if the other factors outweigh the benefits of talking about projects in advance, it’s worth not talking about them.

This isn’t always an easy rule to maintain, but every time we’ve broken it we’ve been stung by it sooner or later. We’re currently on a pretty tight-lipped phase after having been bit earlier this year. I’m sure we’ll loosen up again in the future and who knows, maybe our experience will be better. At least now you have some idea of our thought process on this policy and I hope that helps.

In the meantime, we may or may not be working on whatever it is you want us to be working on.

Technical Support Online Again

Posted on: October 16th, 2009 by Craig Rairdin

Our technical support site was down for upgrades between the afternoon of Monday, October 12, and the morning of Friday, October 16. The upgrade has been completed, and technical support is available again. Thank you for your patience if you’ve been trying to contact us.

During the upgrade period, emails sent to technical support departments were returned as undeliverable. If you sent an email during that period and it was returned as undeliverable, you’ll need to send it again.

Additionally, due to an outage on October 9-11, we may not have received all emails sent to us on those days. If you wrote to us during that period, and did not receive a response, please contact us again. Remember to include all of the pertinent details.

Again, thank you for your understanding and patience.

Technical Support Is Temporarily Unavailable

Posted on: October 12th, 2009 by Craig Rairdin

We are upgrading our technical support software.

During the upgrade process, technical support will be unavailable. Email sent to us may be returned as undeliverable.

We hope that the upgrade process will be smooth and quick and that technical support will be available “soon”. However, a more realistic expectation is that support will available again within a few days.

This is a good time to point out that all of our products include either built-in help or a user guide (or both!). We find that most questions that we receive are answered in these resources. So, even though we might not be here to help you for a few days, you may find the help you need in the built-in help or user guide.

Thanks for your patience during this upgrade process.

PocketBible 1.0.1 Available on the App Store

Posted on: September 30th, 2009 by Craig Rairdin 10 Comments

Apple has approved the first maintenance release for PocketBible. You’ll be happy to see synchronization can actually be turned on and off now. When it’s turned off, you can synchronize all your open Bibles and commentaries to any verse by tapping-and-holding on the verse, then selecting “Sync To…” from the context menu. When it’s turned on (Menu > Settings > Synchronization), all your open Bibles and commentaries should track to the active Bible.

A related problem came up when you were using a Bible with Strong’s numbers. Going to the dictionary for a particular number would show you the correct entry in your preferred Strong’s dictionary, but if you had other Strong’s dictionaries open they would not move to the new entry. This is fixed now so you could have several Strong’s dictionaries open and they’ll all go to the right entry (as long as synchronization is turned on in the Settings menu.

After the nightmare of the first 24 hours after PocketBible shipped, we’ve updated the network error reporting to include more detail than the classic “(null) (null) Customer ID (null)” message that was so informative in the last version.

We’re currently working on the note feature. That will be the next update. I don’t have a time-frame yet but it’s coming along nicely. There are also a couple more little bug fixes that will be rolled into that version.

Fixes in 1.0.1

  • Synchronization was effectively always on. Fixed so it honors the setting in the menu.
  • Once zoomed for link disambiguation, it was possible to choose something from the menu or tap the title bar and confuse the app about the zoom state of the text. Fixed so that any interaction with the program resets the zoom state.
  • Following a link to a Strong’s number would display the preferred (or default) Strong’s dictionary, but other Strong’s dictionaries would not follow when synchronization was on. Fixed so all sync links to dictionaries result in proper synchronization.
  • Registering an email address containing a + (plus sign) failed. Probably other special characters would fail, too. Fixed to use proper URL encoding.
  • Significantly beefed up the error handling while communicating with the server to register new users, send login credentials, and download your books. Eliminated the now-famous “(null)(null) Customer ID (null)” message that was so informative.
  • Changing from “reference only” search results to one of the results with excerpts would result in a correct results list but some excerpts missing. Fixed to always check the selected results format and always reformat each result.
  • Fixed typos in Welcome and Help documents. (These are downloadable now using Add/Remove Books.)
  • Built with book reader engine 1.066 which contains support for a new Bible translation.

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