Subscribe to Updates

Click here to subscribe to new posts by email. We use Google FeedBurner to send these notifications.

Archive for January, 2010

RomansRoad eTract Available for iPhone

Posted on: January 21st, 2010 by Craig Rairdin 10 Comments

A few weeks ago (around the turn of the year), I answered a technical support query about whether any of our eTracts for the Pocket PC had been published for the iPhone. They haven’t been, so it was an easy question to answer. However, that question planted a seed, which sprouted and leads to today’s announcement: our RomansRoad eTract is now available for the iPhone.

RomansRoad eTract is a Scripture-based discussion guide to help you share your Christian faith. Based upon the familiar “Romans Road” series of verses from the book of Romans, this witnessing tool uses a unique question and answer format to provide a framework to help you share your faith. As each new key verse is presented, probing questions and explanatory answers are also provided to help you both explain the Scripture and answer common questions that arise.

For example, Romans 3:23 states that all have sinned. Upon presenting this key verse, the RomansRoad eTract provides the following questions:

  • What is sin?
  • Who has sinned?
  • Does that include you and me?
  • Not convinced that you are a sinner?

Answers to these questions are provided using everyday language.

This format — presentation of a key verse with concise, clear commentary in a question and answer format — provides a framework allowing you to share your faith while personalizing your discussion. Since it is discussion-based, you are able to listen and respond to the questions you receive, and be sensitive to God’s leading.

An individual page or all pages can be emailed, facilitating both further consideration and follow-up at a later date.

If you find the RomansRoad eTract a helpful resource in sharing your faith, we’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment on this article and/or post a review on the App Store with your experiences.

Find It On the App Store

The RomansRoad eTract is available on the App Store for 99 cents. Click here to go to the iTunes App Store now.

The RomansRoad eTract is fully stand-alone. It does not require PocketBible nor any other Laridian product. So, even if you use some one else’s Bible software on your iPhone (though you should try PocketBible, it’s free!), you can still use the RomansRoad eTract.

Some More of the Backstory

I first wrote and published this eTract for use on the Pocket PC. Since then, the text has been revised and expanded several times. I’d estimate that this is really the fourth or fifth edition of the text. I’ve published previous editions in paper format as well.

Last week, I posted the RomansRoad eTract icon on our facebook “fan page” and invited guesses about the program. Several were close, and a few were exactly right!

If you follow me on Twitter, this is what I have been referring to as my “#newsecretiphoneproject”.

Screen Shots

Sample Screen



AT&T vs. Verizon 3G Speed

Posted on: January 18th, 2010 by Craig Rairdin 24 Comments

A few months ago Verizon started running some pretty obvious ads for those of us who use both Verizon and AT&T. They compared their 3G coverage map to AT&T’s. AT&T came up wanting.

AT&T fired back, saying that their 3G network covers 97% of cell phone users, and that it’s faster. They further brag that AT&T users can surf the Web while they’re on the phone.

I’m sitting here this morning using a Verizon 3G modem connected to my MacBook, writing code for the iPhone in my pocket. On a whim I went to on both the Mac and iPhone to see what the results would be. on the iPhone took me to the App Store to download their free native app. On the Mac, runs in your Web browser. I downloaded the app to my iPhone and made sure both the Mac and iPhone were connecting to the same server in Kalamazoo, MI.

The results of three tests tests on each device are summarized below:

  Verizon AT&T
  Download Upload Download Upload
Run 1 790 Kbps 60 Kbps 205 Kbps 233 Kbps
Run 2 230 Kbps 60 Kbps 105 Kbps 130 Kbps
Run 3 430 Kbps 110 Kbps 70 Kbps 190 Kbps
Average 483 Kbps 77 Kbps 127 Kbps 184 Kbps
Overall 280 Kbps 156 Kbps

AT&T has an upload advantage, but most mobile Web surfing and email activity depends on download speed, not upload speed. Furthermore, AT&T’s overall speed (average of upload and download) is lower. So even if you did an equal amount of uploading and downloading (which would be very unusual), Verizon is faster.

This seems to undermine AT&T’s argument that their network, while covering very little of the geographic area of the US, is faster. It appears to me based on my one sample location (Coffee Emporium in Hiawatha, IA) that this is not true.

And while I may be able to surf and talk at the same time with my iPhone, if you read the fine print you’ll find out that only applies when you’re in 3G coverage. The one time I’ve needed to do it in the last two years I was not in 3G coverage and therefore couldn’t surf while I was on the phone.

The iPhone is a great device and if you live in certain areas of the country very close to an ocean you have great coverage. And the connection speed, while slower than Verizon, is certainly adequate for mobile Web and email activities. I really like my iPhone and recommend them to everyone. However, AT&T is its weak spot.

The Story Behind the PocketBible NET Bible

Posted on: January 11th, 2010 by Craig Rairdin 11 Comments

We’ve known about the NET Bible since its beginnings, and several years ago we licensed the NET Bible for use in our products. We knew the Bible had extensive notes but didn’t think that would be a problem for PocketBible.

We put one of our employees to work on it and after several months it became clear that the challenges it presented were going to be greater than the potential revenue we could gain from it would justify. The problems were related to converting the original language references in the notes from a variety of proprietary fonts into the standard Unicode notation we use in PocketBible. I don’t recall all the details but do recall a meeting in which we decided to just drop the project.

A year or so later we heard from a programmer who had extensive experience with the NET Bible and wondered why we hadn’t yet made it available. I explained the issues and he said he’d be happy to tackle it. I sent him everything he needed to tag the NET Bible and notes for PocketBible. He asked a couple questions over the next week or two, but then disappeared. The NET Bible had taken another victim.

Then last November I heard from David Richards. David is a long-time Laridian customer and a fan of the NET Bible. He had been experimenting with our BookBuilder program, which allows anyone to create reference materials that are compatible with PocketBible, and wondered if we had plans to publish the NET Bible. I told him the story and warned him of the bodies it had left in its path. He seemed undeterred, so we came to terms on a price for his work and he set out to work on it. I figured that would be the last we’d hear from him, and went about my business.

Surprisingly, when I heard from David it wasn’t to ask questions. It was to give me samples from what he had gotten done. Before long he had made it through all 60,000 notes. We ran a brief test with a group of testers left over from PocketBible for iPhone and after just one update the NET Bible was ready to ship.

I wanted to tell you David’s story for a couple reasons. First is that we’re pretty excited about finally having the NET Bible and know what an accomplishment it was for him. He deserves a little recognition for his efforts.

Second is that David’s is a story we’ve seen play out a couple of times in the past and we’d like to see it happen more often. We’ll be releasing a collection of reference books in the next couple of weeks that were tagged by another customer who got interested in BookBuilder a year or two ago and has since tagged a couple of projects for us after doing some of his own. Our A.W. Pink, F.B. Meyer, and Andrew Murray collections were tagged by a customer, as was the Dake Study Bible Notes.

Of course tagging books isn’t for everyone. It usually requires extensive use of what’s called “pattern matching”, “regular expression”, or “grep” search-and-replace operations to convert a book from whatever format it might be to begin with into our HTML-based format for BookBuilder. You need to have a head for details and it doesn’t hurt to have a little programming background.

David and each of these other taggers are being compensated in some way for their work. We’d love to add you to our list of available taggers for new projects. You can get the standard BookBuilder program for $29.99 and see if it’s something you want to try. We have an inexhaustible list of books that need to be tagged. Maybe you have a favorite commentary series or reference title you’d like to see in PocketBible. Rather than wait for us to get around to it, why not volunteer to do it yourself?

Feel free to contact me directly if you’re interested:

New for PocketBible: The NET Bible

Posted on: January 6th, 2010 by Michelle Stramel 10 Comments

We have released the often-requested Bible translation: The NET BIBLE for use with PocketBible for iPhone/iPod Touch, Windows Mobile or Windows PC.

The NET BIBLE is a completely new translation of the Bible from the best currently available Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts. The translation has been optimized for readability and elegance and is accompanied by over 60,000 Translator Notes that provide additional accuracy and insight into the meaning of the original languages.

The NET BIBLE sells for $14.99. For more information, click on your desired platform:

iPhone/iPod Touch | Windows Mobile | Windows PC

PrayerPartner for iPhone Updated

Posted on: January 6th, 2010 by Craig Rairdin 4 Comments

PrayerPartner for the iPhone has been updated to version 1.0.2, 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.

This version fixes a rather obvious problem with the PIN support added in version 1.0.1. Embarrassingly, the entry page for the PIN included a “back” button that allowed the PIN entry to be skipped entirely. Sometimes the most difficult to see bugs are the most obvious ones.

(A friend’s recent Facebook status update: “Apparently, the best spot during Hide and Seek is to sit on the couch. The children, ages 3 and 5, looked right at me as they told their mother, sitting next to me, that they can’t find me.”)

Are You a “Fan” or a “Follower”?

Posted on: January 1st, 2010 by Craig Rairdin No Comments

If you’re on Facebook, you can become a fan of PocketBible. Just sign up here: PocketBible fans on Facebook sometimes receive special offers and are among the first to receive our announcements. Plus, by being a fan, you share your appreciation of the Bible and PocketBible with your Facebook friends in a non-threatening way.

If you Twitter, you can follow us at Our official tweats sometimes include special offers, sometimes announcements, and occasionally some “insider” information. Plus, when you think we say something interesting, you can retweat to let your followers know.

Additionally, you can follow some of our staff via their personal accounts for some more insight into what we are working on (or our quirky opinions about life). The PocketBible Twitter account follows some of our staff, so you can easily find us from the PocketBible page at Twitter. Just click the “following” link.

©2015 Laridian