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PocketBible for Mac OS X Status Update

Posted on: June 2nd, 2014 by Craig Rairdin 4 Comments

PocketBible for Mac OS Kickstarter ProjectPocketBible for Mac OS X is moving right along. Last month I published a simplified version of my to-do list so I thought I’d update that list and let you know how it’s going.

If you’re a Kickstarter backer of this project, you’ve been getting regular video updates from me. One went out last night. If you’re not getting these updates, check your settings at Kickstarter or just go visit the the Kickstarter page and log into your account there to view all the updates. For those who didn’t get in on the funding of the project, I’ve posted a few updates here on the blog and made some comments in the comment sections of other blog articles as people have asked. We’ve been more open about this project than we have any other project in the 26 years I’ve been writing Bible software. If you want to know what’s going on and can’t find it here, just ask.

On May 1 I was projecting “mid-June” for being done with the basic feature set (not the Advanced Features). I’ve slid about a week since then. Here’s an update on that to-do list I published last month:

  • Autosync – (Automatically sync changes to notes, highlights, and bookmarks to/from the Laridian Cloud.) This is done and working.
  • Pane management – (Provide a way to open and close panes.) This is done but I’m still seeing some flakey behavior from time to time.
  • Button icons – I’ve made a user interface change that has cut down on the number of new button images I need to create.
  • Note editing/searching - I need to spend a couple more hours on the note editor. Note searching is done and supports most of the key features of book searching (that is, results sorted by relevancy, sounds-like searches, and root-word searches).
  • History – (Implement back/forward.) Haven’t started this yet. Hope to lift the design from iOS.
  • Search – I am currently working on a couple of special features of the search pane. For example if you search the Bible for “John 3:16″ the program now shows you John 3:16 instead of searching your Bible for the text “JOHN 3:16″. And when you do a Bible verse search in any book, you’ll see a list of places in the book where there is a link to the verse.
  • Devotionals – I believe devotionals are done.
  • Highlights – Highlights are done, including renaming highlight colors if you own the Advanced Feature Set.
  • Preferred Books – Provide user interface to choose preferred books.
  • Remove some features that actually belong to the Advanced Feature Set. The program now automatically adjusts to the presence or absence of the Advanced Feature Set; I just need to make sure I’m turning on/off all the appropriate features.
  • Fix a few bugs I’ve been living with but you won’t want to. I keep finding more of these. :-)

The plan is still to make the free version of the program available first, then implement the Advanced Feature Set. Right now, the list of Advanced Features Set features looks something like this:

  • Autostudy – Word study, verse study, and I’m hoping to add a new study called “Today”, which will pull today’s Bible and devotional reading into one convenient document.
  • Saved Layouts – The ability to create different “desktops” or “layouts” for different study configurations.
  • Open All Books – Open all installed books into a predefined layout.
  • Journal Notes – Notes that are not attached to a verse, just like the Journal features on PocketBible for iOS.
  • Named Highlight Colors – The ability to rename highlight colors to something meaningful instead of just “yellow” and “pink” etc.  This is already done.

I think that brings you up-to-date. I’ll post a video update to the blog sometime soon that demonstrates more of the features that the Kickstarter backers have seen but I haven’t shown publicly.

As always, thanks for your support during this process. And if you like what we’re doing here, give us a High 5!

New for PocketBible: Francis Chan Titles

Posted on: May 22nd, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 2 Comments

Here are four new PocketBible titles from pastor, church planter and author, Francis Chan:

Francis Chan was the founding pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California, and is the founder of Eternity Bible College. He is known for his passionate, biblical, and honest style in preaching and writing. You can learn more about Francis at his website, crazylove.org.

Crazy Love, Forgotten God, Erasing Hell, and Multiply are available for use with PocketBible for iOS, Android OS, Windows Phone, Windows Store, Windows PC and Windows Mobile and MyBible for Palm OS. List price is $9.99 each or they can be purchased together in the Francis Chan Bundle for $29.99.

New for PocketBible: Studies to Help You Grow in Your Faith

Posted on: May 15th, 2014 by Michelle Stramel No Comments

Here are 5 new PocketBible titles that provide hundreds of individual studies to help you grow in your understanding of the Bible and the Christian faith:

Originally published as part of the award-winning CLC Bible Companion, these titles are useful for self-study and for guiding others in the basics of the Christian faith. The studies are such that they could be used as a daily devotional where you learn particular aspects of the faith over time. Bible references are easy to look up in PocketBible. You will also find them a source of ready-to-use material for teaching in home groups, bible studies or preaching in church.

The The Bible Book by Book, Discovering God’s Way, Essential Truths of Christianity, Knowing Jesus, and Living the Christian Life are available for use with PocketBible for iOS, Android OS, Windows Phone, Windows Store, Windows PC and Windows Mobile and MyBible for Palm OS. List price is $7.99 each or they can be purchased together in the Grow in Faith Bundle for $29.99.

PocketBible for Mac OS X Status Review

Posted on: May 1st, 2014 by Craig Rairdin 3 Comments

PocketBible for Mac OS Kickstarter ProjectAs you know, last June we launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the development of PocketBible for Mac OS X. As part of that campaign, we had to estimate a ship date for the product. If you know anything about software development you know that ship dates are impossible to accurately predict for complex projects, and companies that make it a hard-and-fast requirement to ship on a particular date end up issuing a series of “point releases” to fix the problems that management wouldn’t allow the programmers to fix before the ship date. So it could be argued that even products that hit their ship dates don’t hit their ship dates.

But Kickstarter required us to name an estimated ship date. I chose May 2014 based on the roughly 9 months it took our Windows Phone / Windows 8 developer to port PocketBible to that platform. I figured I had a head start over that project, since I had the iOS version of PocketBible to lift code from. (iOS and Mac both use the same language, the same development environment, and a very similar API.) I knew I’d have to take time out for iOS 7 (turned out to be more than I thought), so I’d probably consume most of that head start with that.

The Kickstarter campaign was successful and development started in August 2013. I ended up spending a lot of the rest of 2013 on iOS 7, so full-time development on the Mac didn’t really start until January.

Since most of you aren’t software professionals, I know that there is an assumption out there that when we said “May 2014″ that we knew what we were talking about. And furthermore, I know that many of you think “May” means “May 1″ (which is today). That’s OK; you don’t speak the language of programmers and don’t understand our idioms. With that in mind I thought I’d make May 1 be a major project evaluation date. The idea is that this is the day that I honestly evaluate our progress and choose features to cut or simplify in order to do my best to meet the goal of delivering this product by the end of the month.

I’ve been posting progress updates as I go along, so you have a good idea what I have done. What’s less clear is what is remaining to be done. That list looks roughly like this:

  • Autosync – Just need to add some user interface to turn this on and set the frequency. The underlying code is already there to actually do the synchronization.
  • Pane management – Provide a way to open and close panes. This is mostly user interface. The underlying code is already there.
  • Button icons – I have graphics for the majority of buttons, but not all.
  • Notes – Implement a note editor and the ability to show a list of your notes. The latter is easy. The former I hope to lift from Android. Also implement note searching.
  • History – Implement back/forward . Hope to lift this from iOS.
  • Search – The bulk of this is done. I have a small number of special cases to deal with, for example if you search the Bible for John 3:16 it should show you John 3:16, not search for the text “JOHN 3:16″ in your Bible.
  • Devotionals – Finish the devotional go-to pane and the features of the Today menu. This includes setting a start date, catching up when you get behind, and providing a user interface to marking the day’s reading as complete.
  • Highlights – Finish the highlight pane. I can highlight verses and show lists of highlighted verses but there are a few more little features (such as deleting all highlights in a particular color and renaming the highlight colors for Advanced Features owners) that need to be implemented.
  • Preferred Books – Provide user interface to choose preferred books.
  • Remove some features that actually belong to the advanced feature set. These include being able to create multiple saved screen layouts.
  • Fix a few bugs I’ve been living with but you won’t want to.

If all goes extremely well, I can get all of the above done by mid-June. All will not go extremely well. I will most likely delay some of these features, such as searching notes, until after the initial release.

The list above excludes features I intend to implement for the Advanced Feature Set. The plan would be to make the free version of the program available, then implement the Advanced Feature Set. Right now, that list looks something like this:

  • Autostudy – Word study, verse study, and I’m hoping to add a new study called “Today”, which will pull today’s Bible and devotional reading into one convenient document.
  • Saved Layouts – The ability to create different “desktops” or “layouts” for different study configurations.
  • Open All Books – Open all installed books into a predefined layout.
  • Journal Notes – Notes that are not attached to a verse, just like the Journal features on PocketBible for iOS.
  • Named Highlight Colors – This is already done.

If all goes extremely well, these features could be complete by mid-July. All will not go extremely well.

As part of our Kickstarter campaign, we also promised to do a Mac version of BookBuilder. We estimated that would be complete at the end of June. I don’t think it will take long and may attack it over a couple of weekends. I’ll have more to say about that project once I get a chance to look into it.

This sounds like I’m announcing that the program will be late, but I’m actually quite happy with our progress and am optimistic about meeting these dates. I also hope to make some betas available to our Kickstarter supporters before the final version ships, so it’s possible you’ll be using the program relatively soon.

Thanks for your support during this process. If you like what we’re doing here, give us a High 5!

 

A Couple Security-Related Issues

Posted on: April 11th, 2014 by Craig Rairdin 6 Comments

HeartbleedJust a couple brief comments  on two unrelated security issues. You’ve probably heard about the Heartbleed vulnerability that affected many websites this week. For some reason, the media didn’t mention that the affected servers are running Linux. (There are issues with certain programs running on other servers, but the primary impact was for those sites running Linux-based servers.) They’re quick to jump on Microsoft when it comes to security flaws in Windows, but I guess Linux doesn’t get the same treatment. Weird.

Anyway, we run Windows servers here and don’t appear to be affected by Heartbleed. This blog is on a Linux box, but there’s nothing valuable here except for my rambling a on various topics, and those are only mildly worth stealing.

Coincidentally, we were working on another security-related issue when we heard about Heartbleed. A few of you have given us grief in the past for sending password reminders in email. While your Laridian password doesn’t expose any personal information of import, except perhaps your mailing address — which is widely available elsewhere — it was still disconcerting to see your password show up in clear text.

So we’ve made some changes now so that we don’t send out passwords but instead send a link to a page where you can reset your password.  This should provide a little more security, especially if you’re in the habit of using the same password everywhere. :-)

New for PocketBible: Book of Common Prayer (1979)

Posted on: April 9th, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 4 Comments

We’ve had numerous request over the years to publish the Book of Common Prayer. We now have available for use with PocketBible, the 1979 edition of this historical book, used primarily by the Episcopal church in the United States.

The Book of Common Prayer is a resource for communal worship and personal devotion. It includes rites and guides to administration of sacraments as well as a daily office, lectionary and more. Rather than the full Bible text that may be provided in a printed copy of this book, the PocketBible edition of this book links to Bible passages so you can view the text in your preferred Bible translation.

The Book of Common Prayer is available for use with PocketBible for iOS, Android OS, Windows Phone, Windows Store, Windows PC and Windows Mobile. It is also available for use with MyBible for Palm OS. The title lists for $4.99 and can be ordered at the Laridian website.

PocketBible 3.1 Now Available on the App Store

Posted on: April 2nd, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 19 Comments

PocketBible 3.1 is now available on the App Store. This update adds some new features and fixes to PocketBible Version 3.0.26.

PocketBible 3 is still free, and for existing PocketBible version 3 or version 2 users it should show up as an available update in the App Store. If you are still using PocketBible 1.4.7, we offer step-by-step instructions to move to PocketBible 3.

New Features:

  • Users with the Advanced Feature Set can change the behavior of the touch zones. The most common customization is to use swipe up and down for page changes instead of swiping left and right. Other customizations are possible.
  • Added buttons for paragraphs, bold, italic, underline, ordered lists, unordered lists, and list items to the Note editor on the iPad.
  • Journal titles are now included in searches (Journal feature is part of Advanced Feature Set).

Minor Enhancements:

  • Changed the defaults for “Sync Bible/Commentaries” and “Highlight Linked Passage” to ON.
  • Reduced the height of the expanded Toolbox in “upside down portrait” orientation so there’s more room for the keyboard to pop up without obscuring Bible text.
  • Allow the horizontal rule tag to appear in notes without requiring the user to take responsibility for inserting paragraph tags.
  • Preserve the user’s customer ID and password when resetting program settings to their defaults. This should reduce the occurrence of users inadvertently invalidating their user data and books.
  • Removed the “launch recovery dialog” that is displayed on launch after a program crash. The program will always retry without giving the user the option of deleting all their settings, which can result in invalidation of user-created data and the need to delete and re-install books.

Bug Fixes:

  • Fixed a crash when user has more than about 70-75 books open simultaneously.
  • Fixed a crash in the Note editor on the iPhone when inserting font size or font color tags.
  • Fixed the list of verses at the top of the Note editor so that it gets correctly updated, especially when the Lock button is turned on.
  • Fixed erroneous cursor position after inserting certain HTML tags in the Note editor. Confirmed in iOS 7; could still be incorrect in earlier versions.
  • Fixed a misbehavior of the pop-up “menu” view on the iPad under iOS 7.1 in which it was not getting properly dismissed when subsequent toolbar buttons were pressed.

New! Read through the Harmonized Gospels in 40 Days

Posted on: February 25th, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 7 Comments

An ideal way to prepare for Easter, this new Laridian Reading Plan will take you through the Harmonized Gospels in 40 days. Based on A.T. Robertson’s A Harmony of The Gospels, you’ll read through the Bible passages that recount the years Jesus spent on earth as told by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John–in the order in which the events happened. The assigned daily readings will make it easy to compare gospel accounts of the same event.

This free reading plan is already available for download on your device if you are using PocketBible for iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch), Android OS, Windows Phone or Windows Store. There is nothing you need to order. Simply open PocketBible on your device and choose the menu to download this book: Harmonized Gospels 40 Day Reading Plan.

If you are using PocketBible for Windows PC or Windows Mobile, you can add this book to your account for free and download and install it to your device through your download account on the Laridian web site.

As with any Bible reading plan created for use with PocketBible, you’ll see the assigned daily readings for each day and you can tap on the passage to read it in your preferred Bible translation. PocketBible will track your progress through the plan if you’d like.* You can also have PocketBible automatically highlight the linked passage for you so you know what to read (if this is not working, check under settings for an option to “Highlight linked passage” and make sure this is checkmarked or set to “on”*).

*These features still to come in PocketBible for Android OS

PocketBible for Mac OS X Update – Searching Features

Posted on: February 24th, 2014 by Craig Rairdin No Comments

Here’s a video update on our progress on PocketBible for Mac OS X.

There’s more information on our Kickstarter Page.

New for PocketBible: IVP Bible Background Commentary New Testament (2nd Edition)

Posted on: February 21st, 2014 by Michelle Stramel No Comments

IVP Bible Background Commentary NT 2nd Ed coverThe IVP Bible Background Commentary New Testament has been revised and expanded and the 2nd edition of this best-selling title is now available for use with PocketBible.

New to the second edition of the commentary are maps and charts of important historical resources. In addition, the first edition text was expanded by 15% and updated throughout with further explanations of significant background issues. Author, Craig Keener, is one of the leading scholars of Jewish, Greek and Roman culture and religion during the New Testament era. Originally published in 1994, this second edition shows the fruit of an additional twenty years of intensive research by Keener into New Testament culture and history.

When originally published, this type of cultural information on the Bible was not accessible to the average Bible student. Keener wanted to provide cultural background on the New Testament arranged in a manner that allowed the reader to answer all the pertinent questions on a given passage. The first edition of his background commentary sold over half a million copies.

The IVP Bible Background Commentary New Testament provides, in verse-by-verse format, the crucial cultural background you need for responsible–and richer–Bible study. It includes a glossary of cultural terms and important historical figures, maps and charts, up-to-date bibliographies, and introductory essays about cultural background information for each book of the New Testament.

The IVP Bible Background Commentary New Testament requires PocketBible for iPhone/iPad/iPod touch, PocketBible for Android, PocketBible for Windows Phone, PocketBible for Windows Store, PocketBible for Windows PC or MyBible for Palm OS. It is available for $27.99 from the Laridian website. It is also available in a bundle with the companion volume, IVP Bible Background Commentary Old Testament for $39.99.

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