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Archive for October, 2009

PocketBible 1.1.0 for iPhone Coming Soon

Posted on: October 29th, 2009 by Craig Rairdin 25 Comments

I’ve been thinking all week I was just about done with this semi-major point-release of PocketBible for iPhone but then something else would leap out and I’d have to take a day and fix it. I thought I’d take a few minutes to let you know what’s coming in this update.

Notes

The major new feature is notes. You can associate notes with any Bible verse. Notes are independent of the Bible you’re reading. So a note on John 3:16 in the KJV also shows up on John 3:16 in the NIV.

Notes are indicated by a “Note” link at the start of the verse. Tap the link to view the note, or simply tap-and-hold anywhere on the verse to open the context menu and from there, choose to view or create a note.

Any references to Bible verses in your notes will be automatically linked. While viewing a note, just tap the reference to view the Bible verse. Notes are happy to be just plain text, but if you’re comfortable with HTML you can use most HTML tags in your notes. We provide a menu of HTML tags you can easily insert, and bold and italics are available from a toolbar in the note editor. So select the word you want to italicize, then use the <i> button to italicize it. No advanced HTML tagging knowledge required.

The note editor supports undo and redo. Few iPhone apps do, and for good reason. The current state of the text editing features on the iPhone is pretty primitive. It’s difficult to get access to everything you need to support undo/redo.

Pasteboard (aka Clipboard) Support

The other major feature is “Copy Verse” and “Copy Passage” (actually two features, but very closely related). Both are accessed from the context menu. Tap and hold on a verse then select Copy Verse to copy the verse to the clipboard. From there you can paste it into any app, or into a PocketBible note. Similarly, you can select Copy Passage from the context menu, then select the start and end verse you want to copy.

We save both a plain-text and HTML version of the verse on the clipboard. If your other app supports HTML you get really nicely formatted verses. There are options to control how and if verse numbers are included in the passage, and whether your notes should be included.

Rotation Lock

Finally, in terms of significant new features, we’ve added a simple rotation lock. Rotate the device into the position you want, select Rotation Lock from the Settings menu, and then you can lie down, stand on your head, or whatever it is you guys all do that requires rotation locking. Just an aside: This should be a feature of the device. It’s silly to ask hundreds of thousands of applications to implement it instead of doing it once in the OS.

Usability Tweaks and Bug Fixes

I’ve also added some usability features. These include:

  • Changed layout of search input to avoid selecting highlights and categories. Users are accidentally searching non-existent highlights and getting zero search results. The new layout will help.
  • Added more info to “no matches found” message to avoid the same problem as above.
  • Changed tap-and-hold delay to 500 msec from 1000 msec to more closely match Apple’s tap-and-hold delay.
  • Close the context menu after choosing to toggle Strong’s numbers on/off
  • Implemented underline and strike-through
  • Be more rigorous about the way we determine the type of the book. This will move a very small number of books from the “dictionary” or “commentary” section to “other” books.
  • In connection with the last change, send “look up” requests to “other” books so they can try to respond if possible. Again, a very small number of books are impacted.
  • Changed the title field on search results to truncate on the left instead of on the right so you can see the most detailed portion of the title in non-Bibles. (This makes sense when you see it but is hard to describe.)

And finally, I’ve fixed a few bugs:

  • Fixed proximity picker position in landscape mode
  • Fixed Spanish book names in both 3-tap and spinner go-to controls
  • Fixed OT/NT buttons in Spanish Bibles
  • Fixed reversed Hebrew strings
  • Ignore touches that come in while we’re in the process of going somewhere. Otherwise we can have weird zooming issues.

Release Schedule

I’ll post another blog article when I deliver this version to the App Store. It will be a couple weeks after that before it’s available for download. I just need to finish up the Help to cover the new features.

Next up: Daily devotional tracking and other features related to devotional books.

Book Review: Word Study Titles

Posted on: October 27th, 2009 by Michelle Stramel 5 Comments

When it comes to “Word Study” as it relates to the Bible, I consider myself a lightweight. But what I lack in expert opinion I hope to make up for by simply opening each of the word study tools we offer and telling you what they can do for you. Trust me, it won’t be too technical!

My Word Study “go-to” book is the Amplified Bible. I always have a copy of it installed on my current device, along with my preferred English translation. I don’t normally use the Amplified for devotional reading but it is great for comparing with another translation and the place I start when I want to understand a verse better, even before I consult a commentary.

The Amplified uses a unique system of brackets, parantheses and italics to define and expand key words and phrases right in the Bible text. For example, John 3:3 in the Amplified says: “Jesus answered him, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that unless a person is born again (anew, from above), he cannot ever see (know, be acquainted with, and experience) the kingdom of God.” The key words here are expanded in such a way that you come away with a fuller understanding of what Jesus was saying to Nicodemus without having to consult a dictionary.

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Laridian’s Palm Pre Plans

Posted on: October 19th, 2009 by Craig Rairdin 104 Comments

We’re announcing today that we’ve signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Bits of God Software to be the exclusive provider of Bibles and other reference materials for an upcoming version of the popular Simple Bible application for the Palm Pre. Once completed, this will give current Laridian customers who have chosen the Palm Pre as their mobile platform access to the Bibles and reference books they already own for other platforms. It will also give new Simple Bible users immediate access to one of the largest collections of Bible-related content for mobile devices. The new program from Bits of God Software, currently referred to as Simple Bible Pro, will allow users to download new Bibles and reference content directly into the program from their account on Laridian’s site.

As we’ve said here before, programming for the Pre is a whole new challenge. Our existing code that runs on Windows Mobile, iPhone, Windows desktop, and Palm OS really gives us no leverage on the Pre. With that in mind we sought a partner, and when it comes to Bible software on the Pre, the guys at Bits of God are the best. We’re pretty excited about partnering with them.

Our current agreement is “an agreement to agree” so there are many details to be worked out yet. We’ve agreed in principle on most of the more difficult points of our relationship, so we don’t anticipate any problems. The important thing is that it looks like current PocketBible and MyBible customers will have a migration path if they choose the Pre, and that Simple Bible Pro will get a jump start over other Bible software on the device by having access to Laridian’s growing library of content.

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.

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