Archive for December, 2009

New Devotionals for 2010

Posted on: December 29th, 2009 by Michelle Stramel 2 Comments

2010 is just around the corner.  A new year.  New beginnings.  A fresh start.  There are so many opportunities with a new year.  To begin again . . . or just begin.  And if one of your beginnings is a desire to start your new year drawing closer to God, what a great time to begin a new daily devotional.  In the month of December, Laridian has released 5 new devotional titles: two from popular preacher and teacher John MacArthur, a new devotional for women, written by women of faith, a heart challenging compilation of select readings from John Calvin’s Commentary of the Psalms and Daily with the King: A Devotional for Self-Discipleship

To me, you can’t go wrong with John MacArthur.  His teaching is always sound, insightful and purposeful.  And these two volumes of Daily Readings from the Life of Christ are no exception.  Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1 follows Jesus’ first year of ministry.  From his public baptism and start of his ministry, through His teaching with parables, John MacArthur walks us daily through the first 13 chapters of Matthew and Jesus’ earthly ministry.  I can’t think of a better teacher in the ways of God and the Christian life than our Savior.  Even though many entries are stories Christians know by heart, there is new learning and revelation each time we meditate and study God’s word.  Circumstances of life change, and though God’s word never does; how God uses His word to touch us and teach us in those circumstances is always new and refreshing.

Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 2 goes deeper into the miracles of Jesus and his confrontations with the Jewish leaders by focusing on the Gospels of Matthew and John.  I especially enjoyed the days covering the calling of the Disciples and their commission.  MacArthur gives at least one day to each disciple, giving insight into who each man was and how each man’s character traits were chosen and used by Jesus.  It is interesting to see how Jesus used men with characteristics just like mine and people I know, both good and “bad”, to bring about the spreading of his gospel and the furthering of his kingdom.  For example, my 10 year old son can inundate me with questions.  Sometimes I think he spends his day trying to think of questions to ask me, but when I read the account of Jesus’ calling of Peter, I realized in reading that paragraph, that Peter was a lot like my son.  He is described as “constantly asking questions . . . and though many were superficial and immature . . . self-centered and off the mark . . . .”Jesus used Peter’s questioning as opportunities to train him in leadership.  To be the leader of the apostles he intended Peter to be.  As a parent, I have learned, that reacted to in the proper manner, my son’s questions can be an opportunity for me to mold him into a proper leader (a character trait he naturally exhibits).  Will he be a Peter?  Only the God who has called him to himself can answer that, but I now better understand how my reactions to his questions can train him, having either a positive or negative impact on the man he will become.

I can’t leave this review without touching for just a moment on Daily Seeds from Women Who Walk in Faith.  As I skimmed through the pages while preparing this for PocketBible, I was drawn to the stories of the women in this devotional.  As a daughter, wife, mother and friend, there is much I can learn from these women who have experienced life’s trials and joys and the lessons they have to share. 

As this new year approaches, there are many ways we can begin anew.  No beginning will enrich your life more than a new beginning with the Savior.  So whether you have resolved to begin a daily quiet time with God, or are looking for a new devotional to continue your existing quiet times, I highly encourage you to take a look at what’s new from Laridian.

PocketBible 1.2.0 Now Available

Posted on: December 29th, 2009 by Craig Rairdin 19 Comments

Features Devotional Reading Progress Tracking

PocketBible 1.2.0 has been approved by Apple and is available in the App Store.

The new version wraps up what we call our “user-created data” functionality. That is, the program now supports the creation of notes, highlights, bookmarks, and the tracking of your progress as you read through devotional (daily reading) books. This is a fairly major milestone for PocketBible. Initially we weren’t even going to ship version 1.0 until these features were implemented. Our early alpha testers convinced us to ship as soon as possible and wrap up the rest of the features in a series of point releases, which is what we ended up doing.

There are other minor improvements to the program as well. In particular, we took advantage of the extra space in landscape mode and added two additional buttons to the toolbar: “Forward” (the “Back” button seemed lonely) and “Bookmarks” (gives you a quick path to your list of bookmarks). And check out the new, very colorful, Go TO Verse screen.

New Features in 1.2.0

  • PocketBible now tracks your progress reading through devotional (daily reading) books like through-the-Bible reading plans.
    • Select a start date for each devotional book
    • Mark today’s reading, current reading, or selected reading as “completed”
    • Title bar turns green for readings you’ve read; red for those you need to read
    • Today button now activates new Devotional menu when selected while a devotional is active. Gives access to devotional features including new reading progress view and settings
    • “Catch Up” function lets you quickly adjust your reading plan to put you back on schedule
    • Open Book screen uses color coding to indicate which devotional books you need to read today to stay on schedule
    • Progress tracking is optional
  • Added frequently requested “Forward” and “Bookmarks” buttons to the tool bar when in landscape mode (where there is room for more buttons than in portrait).
  • Color-coded the book name buttons in the Go To Verse “Bk/Ch/Vs” selection process. Colors correspond to well-known sections of the Bible (Pentateuch, History, Wisdom, etc.) to make it easier to spot a particular book.
  • Added more “short-cut” buttons to the Go To Verse spinner corresponding to the sections of the Bible mentioned above.
  • Minor updates to the Context menu for non-Bibles to remove inactive choices.
  • Improved handling of saving your notes when the phone rings or you get a text (or simply exit the program) to eliminate potential loss of data.

Next up is providing you a way to sync your user-created data to our server and from there to your PC and other mobile devices. As usual there will be other improvements included in each update.

If you have suggestions, send them to me at rather than posting them here in comments.

PrayerPartner for iPhone Updated

Posted on: December 28th, 2009 by Craig Rairdin

PrayerPartner for the iPhone has been updated to version 1.0.1, and is now available on the Apple App Store. Search for “PrayerPartner” in the App Store, or try this link.

This is a free update for all PrayerPartner owners. If you’ve previously purchased PrayerPartner, then either iTunes or your iPhone (or iPod touch) will notify you that the update is available.

New Features in 1.0.1

  • In response to customer requests, an optional passcode (PIN) requirement has been added. The optional PIN allows you to protect any sensitive information that you’ve added to your prayer list. (The PIN applies to the entire program, preventing access to all prayer requests if the PIN is not known.) Simply turn on the PIN requirement and select up to a 4-digit PIN. PrayerPartner will then prompt you for this PIN every time that PrayerPartner starts.
  • Automatic saving of data when PrayerPartner exits, such as when the phone rings or a text is received, has been improved.

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.

New Devotionals for the New Year

Posted on: December 10th, 2009 by Michelle Stramel

We have released five new devotionals just in time for the New Year.

Daily with the King by W. Glyn Evans offers 366 revealing, personal messages that will stir you, strengthen you, and bring you closer to God, the King, in a way you never imagined. Whether you’ve been away from God for a while, or you’re looking for a way to keep your daily devotions fresh, you now have a new appointment book.   

Palm OS | Windows Mobile | Windows PC | iPhone or iPod touch

Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Volume One offers 365 devotional readings from the Gospel of Matthew by John MacArthur. The goal of the series is to help you develop consistency in reading and meditating on the truths of the Bible—and to equip you for your journey with directions you can understand from a trustworthy guide.   

Palm OS | Windows Mobile | Windows PC | iPhone or iPod touch

Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Volume Two focuses primarily on the gospel of John. Practical and encouraging, these devotions by John MacArthur are sure to challenge and uplift your heart as you come face-to-face with the infinite wonders of our Savior’s life on earth.   

Palm OS | Windows Mobile | Windows PC | iPhone or iPod touch

Heart Aflame These select daily readings from Calvin’s Commentaries on the Psalms provide you with a year’s worth of sure-footed daily meditations. Calvin wrote as one whose own experience is mirrored in the Psalms. Here we witness his remarkable knack for seeing the real issues, particularly how Christ is the focus of all of Scripture.   

Palm OS | Windows Mobile | Windows PC | iPhone or iPod touch

Daily Seeds from Women who Walk in Faith Written by more than seventy contributors from an array of life experiences, these selections will meet you on the paths you walk—of busyness, loneliness, search for purpose, financial stress, envy, loss, changing friendships, and many others.   

Learn from women like yourself how you can wait on God for His perfect gifts, honor Him with your work, savor the simple pleasures He gives, exercise your imagination, and, as one writer puts it, “keep your eyes on the Instructor of the dance of life.”

Palm OS | Windows Mobile | Windows PC | iPhone or iPod touch

Devotional Sale! Now until January 3, 2010 get these new titles and all our devotional and Bible reading titles for 20% off by using Priority Code DEVSALE on the order form. Titles above are regularly $9.99 each, now only $7.99 each. Other devotional titles range in price from $7.99 to $14.99.

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