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Archive for the ‘Company Insights’ Category

What’s free with PocketBible?

Posted on: June 28th, 2012 by Michelle Stramel 2 Comments

Free PocketBible Books

We often get asked about what free books are available for use with PocketBible. Here’s a one-stop answer to that question.

We offer a variety of free books in different book categories so you can try the program out and see what it can do as well as build your library. Step one is to make sure you actually own PocketBible (or one of our related readers/software programs). Or in other words, you need a reader even to use the free books we offer.

All versions of PocketBible are free to download. This includes PocketBible for iOS (aka iPhone/iPad/iPod touch), Android OS, Windows PC, Windows Mobile and Palm OS. Laridian Bibles also work with Simple Bible Pro for webOS and Noah Bible Study Viewer for BlackBerry (non-PocketBible programs have to be purchased – see product pages for details).

Once you have PocketBible downloaded for your smartphone, tablet or PC, you can download and access our free books (as well as any titles you purchase). For iOS and Android OS, the books are available to you upon registration automatically. Simply log in to your Laridian account within the program and download them. For other platforms or devices, you must order them on our web site (links are below) to add them to your Laridian account for download.

We can offer these titles free because they are in the public domain (not copyrighted). If you have any suggestions for other public domain titles you’d like to see us publish, let us know in the comments below.

Jeff Wheeler

Posted on: May 7th, 2012 by Craig Rairdin 48 Comments

My friend and Laridian co-founder Jeff Wheeler passed away this morning, the victim of a rare and particularly aggressive form of cancer. He was 49.

Jeff and I worked together for 27 years at three different companies and founded Laridian together. The features that you love in QuickVerse and PocketBible and which you often praise me for were likely Jeff’s ideas and his doing. If I didn’t build on Jeff’s foundation, he would dig me a new foundation while I was paying attention to something else. He was my sounding board and my reference library. While being all this to me, he still managed to deeply impact his family for Christ and touch others through his home school choir, his leadership in his local church, and his service to his denomination’s state board.

Men like this do not pass this way often. Well lived, Jeff.

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.

We’re not virtual anymore!

Posted on: January 29th, 2012 by Michelle Stramel 11 Comments

If you’ve ever visited the About page on our website in the past, you may have read:

This is as close as you’re going to come to visiting our “facilities”. Laridian is a virtual corporation where employees work from their homes. Currently we’re spread out over three states. We rely heavily on electronic means of communication, though those of us working in our hometown of Cedar Rapids, IA frequently meet in person just to keep from going crazy, if nothing else.

Well, times have changed and we’d like to officially announce that we have left our home-based, coffee shop, Skype’ing days behind us for a physical location where we all work together in one office in Cedar Rapids, IA. Yes, there are a few unhappy coffee shop owners in the area but for Laridian it has been a great move. We all loved the perks of working from home (i.e. optional showering, work in your pj’s) but now, having tried the alternative, we have to admit that there are some definite advantages to working together in the same building. We’ve already seen improvements in productivity in every area of the company. And as far as communication goes, we only have to get up and take a short walk to find out what is going on with a co-worker. We’ve replaced our “virtual” reality with a “new” reality that isn’t half bad and might just be worth having to take a daily shower.

Why the change? Until this summer we had used a number of outside contractors and companies to create the books and Bibles that go into PocketBible. When this process was working, it worked well. But recently, two of our best outside contractors had changes in their situations that robbed them of the free time they were devoting to tagging books. As a result it was taking longer and longer to get finished books. So we decided to bring this operation in-house. In addition to having more control over the schedule, we thought it would be easier to manage.

When putting together the budget for the new employees, we decided to include office space, office furniture, computers, internet connections, and everything else we’d need to operate a “real” office. It turned out the cost wasn’t really that bad, and the benefit of having the new people sitting right next to seasoned veterans made training a breeze. So we rented some office space close to Craig and Jeff’s house, then hired the editors. The result is that you saw more new titles from us in the last quarter of 2011 than in some previous entire years.

Just this month, the last of our home-based employees moved into the office with us. Yesterday, we made it official by putting a sign up on the door telling the world (and the FedEx driver) we’re here. So you won’t find us out in the virtual world any longer – we’ve come down to earth and we hope it will be for your benefit.

Craig Rairdin, Christian Computing Hall of Fame Inductee – Part II

Posted on: September 30th, 2011 by Michelle Stramel 4 Comments

A couple of months back we reported the great news that Craig Rairdin, President of Laridian, had been inducted into the Christian Computing Hall of Fame. For those who enjoy the story behind the story, Christian Computing has published an article in their September issue, written by Laridian Vice President Jeff Wheeler, that tells more about Craig and his contributions to the Bible software industry.

Laridian President Inducted into Christian Computing Hall of Fame

Posted on: July 29th, 2011 by Michelle Stramel 13 Comments

We’re pleased to let you know that Laridian President, Craig Rairdin, is one of five charter inductees into the Christian Computing Hall of Fame. Craig is being honored for his significant contributions toward the use of computers and technology in Christian ministry.

The inductees were announced in the July Issue (links to PDF) of Christian Computing Magazine.

Is the iPad the perfect platform for PocketBible?

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

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

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

What’s to love about the iPad?

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

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

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

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

Are you still using your print Bible?

Posted on: May 21st, 2011 by Michelle Stramel 44 Comments

Last week my Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class ended for the year. If you are not familiar with BSF, it is an interdenominational group that offers weekly, in-depth Bible studies to men, women and children throughout the world. They have a four-fold philosophy where you first read and study the passage on your own, then you discuss it in a group, then you hear a lecture on it and finally you get explanatory notes on the passage. You are not supposed to consult reference material such as commentaries or dictionaries until you have gone through all four stages of study. It is a very organized way to study the Bible and I really like that they focus on the Bible text rather than taking a topical approach.

I have been participating in BSF for nearly 10 years and I find that my use of technology in studying the Bible has changed over the years. While I am still the only one in my discussion group that uses a phone instead of a printed Bible, I find myself using my phone in different ways now than I did at first. In the beginning, I was using my phone (actually it was a PDA way back when) for everything. I refused to carry a printed Bible. Perhaps there may have been a small desire on my part to convert the masses, I am the chief marketer for Laridian after all. But I also felt like PocketBible should do everything for me since I had loaded as many Bibles and reference books as my device could hold.

This year was different though. Maybe it was the fact that we were going through the book of Isaiah or maybe I’m not so rigid anymore, but towards the end of the year I dusted off my print Bible and started using it both in answering my lessons and in class, along with my phone. I really liked having the whole passage open for review. That is the one thing missing on my phone (although an iPad could help with that).

My secret weapon though is still my iPhone. While we can’t consult commentaries and reference material, I have a variety of translations installed on my iPhone. When the NIV leaves me wondering, I can quickly review a verse or passage in the Amplified, NLT or Message and I’m not cheating one bit. I also do that when I’m working on my lesson at home for the following week. And it is still much more convenient to look up related passages using my phone than to flip around the Bible.

The marketing side of me hopes that some day everyone in my BSF group is using their phone loaded with PocketBible at the meeting. The practical side of me realizes there may always be a place for the print and the electronic.

How about you? Are you still using your print Bible? If so, do you use the print and electronic together or for different times and purposes?

“How Is Jeff Doing?”

Posted on: March 24th, 2011 by Craig Rairdin 8 Comments

Back in January, Craig revealed here that I’d been diagnosed with cancer in November and was undergoing treatments. Since then, many of you have left comments here and on Facebook letting us know of your prayers, love and concern. (We’ve even received some emails from PrayerPartner users who have added my health to their PrayerPartner prayer list. As the developer of PrayerPartner, I was blessed by that.)

Recently, some have left comments here and on Facebook asking how I’m doing. Frankly, I’m never sure how to answer that question, as there isn’t a good, short answer. Should I address how we’re doing spiritually (we’re thriving)? Emotionally (ups and downs, but God is faithful)? Physically (it’s not clear today how I’m doing against the cancer)? How can I communicate our experiences on this unexpected journey that will glorify God, encourage the Christian community, and not put the focus on me, all in a short article appropriate for this blog (or in a Facebook comment)?

I still haven’t figured out how to do that. :-)

However, we do appreciate your interest, your expressions of concern and your related prayers. So, for those who might be interested, I’d like to invite you to my cancer blog, where I attempt to tackle some of the above. You don’t have to register, login or have a special account. You can read as much or as little as you want. If you’d like a summary of what’s happened and where we’re at now (that is, how I’m doing), I’d suggest that you start with this article.

As Craig said previously, “Thank you always for your prayers. It is our pleasure to be able to serve you through the work we do.”

Family News from Laridian

Posted on: January 6th, 2011 by Craig Rairdin 65 Comments

Craig and Jeff working on PocketBible at Java Creek Cafe

Our regular readers know that Laridian currently employs just two full-time programmers: me (Craig) and Jeff Wheeler. We have several part-time employees doing marketing and technical support work, but Jeff and I are the only full-timers. Jeff and I go way back, first working together in 1985. Except for nine months in 1988-89 when I left to join Parsons Technology and before Jeff joined me there, we’ve worked together ever since then.

I want you to know that in November of last year, Jeff was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. His prognosis is good, but the cancer is aggressive and calls for aggressive treatment. He’s had two surgeries, and recently began about an eighteen-week regimen of chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Those of us who have had cancer victims in our families know that treatments and responses vary. However, during this period, it is expected that Jeff will go through a three-week cycle of nausea, then fatigue, then a brief period of feeling good before the cycle of treatment begins again.

Needless to say, we all at Laridian covet your prayers for the treatment to be productive and the side-effects to be tolerable.

Additionally, I want you to know how this affects our work at Laridian. Laridian is a small company and that is intentional. In an article in Christian Computing Magazine ten years ago we explained how our history of working for a huge, publicly-traded software company motivated us to create something different when we founded Laridian. We wanted to be small and stay small. One of the results of meeting that goal is that when one of us is operating at less than 100%, it affects all of us. It also affects our ability to meet our customers’ expectations. So we, too, would appreciate your prayers and patience during this period.

Of course, we all have troubles in this life. Your family has perhaps gone through a lot worse at one time or another. Jeff knows his particular problems aren’t any bigger than what you have experienced or might be currently experiencing. But we thought it was important for you to know what’s going on here so you will have some additional insight into how this situation may affect the work we do for you here at Laridian.

Again, thank you always for your prayers. It is our pleasure to be able to serve you through the work we do.


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