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PocketBible for Android v1.1.1

Posted on: November 19th, 2013 by Jon Grose 33 Comments

PocketBible for Android version 1.1.1 has been released on the Google Play Store. If you downloaded the app from Google Play, you should be automatically updated. If you are using a Kindle Fire (or other non-Google Play device), you can download the latest version by browsing to http://lpb.cc/android while on your device. You can see the new features in action here:

The added features of this version include:

  • Improved navigation menu, now with icons for each screen
  • Preferred Bibles & dictionaries can be set in Settings >> Program Settings
  • Improved managing of bookmarks, now a simpler, cleaner UI.
  • Show & manage lists of highlights, similar to what bookmarks already had.
  • Initial Android 4.4/Kit Kat support.
  • Various bug fixes, mostly having to do with managing bookmarks and syncing.

This update is mostly about finishing up some recent features. Previously you had highlights but no way to manage them. As we added this ability, we saw some ways we could smooth things out for managing bookmarks. The ability to set Preferred Books was a frequent request and easy addition so we included that here as well.

If you are thinking: “Wait, what about notes? I thought notes were next?” That is still our next major feature to roll out and the work we have done on improving management of bookmarks and highlights will be of benefit there. I have already started working on it this week and things are moving right along!

New for PocketBible: Hidden in Christ

Posted on: November 16th, 2013 by Michelle Stramel No Comments

Hidden in Christ coverHidden in Christ: Living as God’s Beloved is a 30-day devotional title focusing on Colossians 3:1-17 by James Bryan Smith.

Memorizing and studying a passage in depth can offer a deeper sense of the meaning of each word. In this unique introduction to the hidden life in Christ, James Bryan Smith walks readers through a thirty-day immersion in Colossians 3:1-17. Each of the thirty short chapters of Hidden in Christ bring out the main truth of just one word or phrase of this rich passage. You’ll also find a very simple daily practice to take up, reflection questions and a guide for five weeks of group discussion.

In the introduction to the book, Smith writes: “My aim in this book is to take you on this journey with me. I tried, in each of the thirty chapters, to bring out the rich insights each word had provided for me. The goal here was not to excavate some scholarly insights, but to bring forth the main truth of the word or phrase in such a way that you, the reader, will find encouragement, refreshment and enthusiasm. Paul wrote his letter to the Colossians not to give them an academic treatise on Christian theology but to tell his readers a story—the greatest story the world has ever heard.”

Hidden in Christ: Living as God’s Beloved 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. The list price is $9.99.

Managing your Books in PocketBible

Posted on: November 6th, 2013 by Michelle Stramel 5 Comments

PocketBible for AndroidAll of our PocketBible smartphone and tablet apps (Android, Windows Phone/Store and iOS) have a similar feature you can use to quickly move from one book to the other.

Tap on the title bar in a pane and you’ll get a drop-down list of what you have open in that pane. This works the same way in each pane you have open. From there you can tap on the title of another book in the list to move to it; you may be able to close a book or open another book as well (varies by OS). This simple way of managing books makes it easier to get your panes setup like you want as you study the Bible.

Here is a quick video demonstration of this feature using PocketBible for Android:

On my phone, I like to use two panes and keep my Bibles in one pane and my other type books in the second pane. I also have my apps set to sync books by verse so that my Bibles and commentaries always stay on the same verse. On my iPad, I use tabs for each category of book so I can quickly switch between type of book but when I am in a particular tab, like Bibles, I can use the title bar to quickly switch between my different Bibles.

Questions or tips for other users? Please share in the comments below!

PocketBible 3 for iOS Now Available on the App Store

Posted on: October 31st, 2013 by Craig Rairdin 38 Comments

PocketBible 3 is now available on the App Store! Version 3 is fully iOS 7 compatible but runs on iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch devices back to version 5.

PocketBible 3 is still free, and for existing PocketBible 2 users it should show up as an available update. If you already own the Advanced Feature Set, it will unlock the Advanced Features of version 3.

What’s New

As you can see here, PocketBible 3 introduces our new iconography for iOS, which is based on the “Holy Spirit descending like a dove” from the old stained-glass icon from version 2. So don’t be surprised when you can’t find the old PocketBible icon after you upgrade. Just look for the dove.

Here are a few things you will notice as new in version 3:

ADVANCED FEATURE SET

  • The Journal lets you create notes that aren’t associated with any Bible verse. In all other respects they act like notes in PocketBible, including being sync’ed to the Laridian cloud — though they will not yet be visible in versions of PocketBible running on other platforms.
  • Name your highlight colors to make it easier to remember what your colors mean.
  • All the previous Advanced Feature Set features from version 2 are present in version 3, and your version 2 Advanced Feature Set will enable the version 3 features without an additional purchase.

STANDARD FEATURES

  • Autosync allows you to automatically sync changes to your notes, highlights, bookmarks, and other user-created data with the Laridian Cloud without pausing to manually sync as you had to do with version 2. You have the option to require WiFi for autosync in order to avoid data charges. Manual sync is still available, and it runs much faster than the older sync protocol.
  • Added underline, dotted underline, and dashed underline highlight styles.
  • Added option to display one verse per paragraph. (Start each verse on a new line.)
  • Now supports book (non-Bible) notes on iPhone. Previously, these were only available on iPad.
  • Added a Night Reading color scheme which puts white text on a black background for reading in the dark.
  • iOS 7 users will have multiple user interface color schemes in addition to “Night Reading”.
  • Optional Book Position Indicator at the bottom of each book pane shows you how far into the book you are.
  • Added Pane Options button to the iPad toolbar. Lets you turn on/off tabbed panes and select the number of panes you’re viewing.
  • Better management of notes, highlights, and bookmarks by being able to delete them from lists using the standard iOS “swipe” gesture. When deleting a category, all the bookmarks in that category are now deleted rather than being moved to “uncategorized” as they were before.
  • Improved the iPad launch speed for users with lots of notes, highlights, or bookmarks.
  • A number of small user interface tweaks, including:
    • Rearranged the Main, Context, and Settings menus to move frequently accessed items to the top and collect similar operations together under task-related headings.
    • Got rid of Undo and Redo in the iPhone note editor; added Bold, Italics, and Unordered List buttons to the iPhone note editor toolbar.
    • Made the Toolbox Expand, Next Page, and Previous Page buttons smaller to increase the space available for the contents of the Toolbox panels. On the Note View/Edit panels, rearranged the controls at the top to provide more room to view the note.
    • Added Email Passage and Text Passage to the list of possible “Passage Actions” in the Context menu.

Here’s what to Expect

Here are some screen shots to let you see what the new version looks like. Visually, it’s similar to the previous one. Most of these images use the default color scheme. Click on an image to see a full-size version.

iPad

iPad with Toolbox, Toolbar with new Book Panes button, and default color scheme

iPad in landscape with Toolbox, multiple book panes, and Context menu

iPad with my favorite “Chocolate” color scheme, also showing Book Progress Indicator bars across the bottom of each book pane.

iPhone

Other than the iOS 7 color scheme, the iPhone version looks pretty similar to version 2.

An early beta view of the “Night Reading” color scheme on the iPhone. Toolbar buttons are in red to aid in retention of night vision.

PocketBible for Windows Store 2.2 – Support for Windows 8.1 and more

Posted on: October 26th, 2013 by Michelle Stramel 6 Comments

An update to PocketBible is now available on the Windows Store. This update provides support for the recently released Windows 8.1.

Enhancements to Version 2.2 include:

  • Windows 8.1 support. Uses the new controls, handles the new Windows 8.1 re-sizing features, and makes use of the efficiency changes in Windows 8.1.
  • Open Books menu now indicates which book is currently displayed by a checkmark
  • Option to turn off the display of verse numbers in Bibles
  • Zoom in using pinch to zoom on the content of a book

Advanced Features enhancements include:

  • View and edit notes directly from the notes pane or in a secondary window
  • Have any type of book read to you (not just Bibles)

Here is what the new note editor looks like (click on picture to view larger):

Download PocketBible for Windows Store for free!

NOTE: Some of the features mentioned above may require the purchase of the Advanced Feature Set for $6.99.

NOTE: There is a known issue in displaying images with Windows 8.1 that has been submitted to Microsoft (slows down app). Images are temporarily turned off in the program, however, there is an option in the program to turn images back on if you’d like.

PocketBible for Android 1.1.0 – Sharing Verses

Posted on: October 24th, 2013 by Jon Grose 18 Comments

PocketBible for Android version 1.1.0 has been released on the Google Play Store. If you downloaded the app from Google Play, you should be automatically updated. If you are using a Kindle Fire (or other non-Google Play device), you can download the latest version by browsing to http://lpb.cc/android while on your device.

There were a number of small changes, but the big features are being able to copy and share selected verses! If you select a verse, or verses, by tapping on them, just press the newly added share and copy buttons added to the contextual action bar at the top of the screen. Copying text will copy the selected text to the clipboard allowing you to paste it in other apps. Share will provide you a list of all the apps on your device that can receive the formatted text, like texting, email, facebook, twitter, etc. If you want to see that in action, you can watch the video below:


PocketBible makes it easier than ever to share God’s word!

To change how the selected text is formatted, go into Settings, then Copy/Share Settings and adjust things like showing verse numbers, including references, including translation names, and making each verse on its own line.

Download it today and share the Bible with someone you know!

PocketBible for Android 1.0.9 – Bookmarking

Posted on: October 4th, 2013 by Michelle Stramel 26 Comments

PocketBible for Android version 1.0.9 has been released on the Google Play Store. If you downloaded the app from Google Play, you should be automatically updated. If you are using a Kindle Fire (or other non-Google Play device), you can download the latest version by browsing to http://lpb.cc/android while on your device.

The major new features in 1.0.9 are the ability to add bookmarks to verses and a new navigation menu. The full list of features includes:

  • Bookmark Bible verses. Organize bookmarks with categories you define. Sync bookmarks with the Laridian cloud.
  • Navigation menu for easy access to downloading books, settings, etc. Additional side panel added for tablets.
  • Double-tap for full screen
  • Improved verses selection
  • Multi-user installation

The new bookmark feature is available from the contextual action bar (where you are already able to highlight). When you tap on a verse, you’ll have the option to highlight or bookmark. Bookmarks can be viewed from the navigation menu or side panel (for tablets). Tapping on the PocketBible icon (upper left) will give you quick change options on the navigation menu.

More features are planned for PocketBible for Android including note-taking, daily reading progress tracking and enhanced searching. Take our survey and let us know which of these planned features are of most interest to you.

New for PocketBible: Too Busy Not To Pray

Posted on: October 4th, 2013 by Michelle Stramel No Comments

Too Busy Not To Pray coverToo Busy Not To Pray (20th Anniversary Edition) is a classic title on prayer by Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church. Revised throughout and including a new introduction and new chapter on prayer and compassion for the world, Too Busy Not To Pray calls both young and old to make prayer a priority, and broadens our vision for what our eternal, powerful God does when his people slow down to pray.

Too Busy Not To Pray is not a deep theological treatise on prayer but rather a practical guidebook on the why and how of prayer. It is a reminder, encouragement and inspiration to spend daily time communicating with the God who saved us and loves us. Because this book came out of Bill Hybels attempt to improve his own prayer life, you won’t find yourself judged or condemned if you struggle with regular prayer. Instead you’ll be challenged to look at why you may not be praying regularly and encouraged to take some practical steps to get started. As one reviewer put it: “You cannot read this book without praying more, and praying better. It is thoughtful, clear, compelling and challenging–Bill at his best!”

Too Busy Not To Pray requires PocketBible for iPhone/iPad/iPod touch, PocketBible for Windows Phone, PocketBible for Android, PocketBible for Windows Store, PocketBible for Windows PC or MyBible for Palm OS. The list price is $9.99.

PocketBible and iOS 7

Posted on: September 20th, 2013 by Craig Rairdin 62 Comments

This week brings the release of iOS 7 from Apple. As this new version of the operating system rolls out to more and more devices we’re beginning to hear from you about what’s working and what’s not. I want to take a minute to tell you how to work around the one problem we know about, then tell you what we’re doing to fix that, then tell you what I think about all this. Since that flows from absolutely important to “who cares?”, you can stop reading as soon as your questions are answered.

“Go To Verse” on the iPad

iOS 7 removed a feature of “popover views” (the box that pops up out of the toolbar to show you our “go to verse” buttons) that allowed developers to specify the size of the contents they were putting in the view if that size changes after the initial contents are placed. As a result, after you choose a book, the view gets resized to its default size, and the chapter buttons get cut off.

There are two work-arounds for this:

  • Press the button in the upper left corner to go back to the list of books and choose your book again. This little bit of magic seems to break Apple’s concentration and they quit trying to resize the view.
  • Choose a different go-to method for the time being. To do this, go to the Settings menu, scroll down to Program Settings, and choose a different Bible Verse Selection method. There are two other than the book/chapter/verse buttons that are the default: The Calculator method and the Spinner method. Of the two, the spinner is the easiest to use and is less quirky. Choose the Spinner and work your way out of the Settings menu. Next time you choose Go To, you’ll see the Spinner instead of the buttons.

There are other small cosmetic issues you may or may not notice as you use the program. We don’t know of anything that affects the actual function or usability of the program beyond the one mentioned above.

What We’re Doing About It

While developers have had access to beta versions of the iOS 7 developer’s toolkit for several months, we’ve found in the past that you can waste a lot of time chasing the changing specifications of the new version of the operating system if you start your work too early. For iOS 6, many developers were stunned to discover the apps they developed and uploaded to the App Store using the final beta version (which was approved by Apple for submission to the App Store) did not function correctly on the final released version of iOS 6. They had to scramble to make changes. So with all this in mind, and after reviewing the new features in iOS 7, we decided to wait until we had a version of the developer’s toolkit that was closer to final.

We’re working on version 3.0 of PocketBible, which will be fully iOS 7 compatible. Most of the changes we have to make are user interface related. That is, tweaking colors and behavior of the UI to match the new, flat look of iOS 7. There are several new features in PocketBible 3, but these have been in beta for a few weeks now and are in pretty good shape. In particular:

  • Advanced Feature Set – New Features
    • Journal Notes allow you to take notes that are not associated with any particular Bible verse.
    • Assign names to your highlight colors.
  • Features in the Standard (Free) Version
    • Autosync feature allows you to synchronize your user data (notes, highlights, bookmarks, etc.) with the Laridian cloud automatically in the background while you continue to work. Manual sync is still available if you prefer.
    • Synchronization speed is improved.
    • Added underline styles (underline, dotted, and dashed) to the list of highlight choices.
    • Display one verse per paragraph (start each verse on a new line).
    • Support iOS swipe gestures to delete notes, highlights, bookmarks, etc. from lists of those items.
    • When deleting a bookmark category, the bookmarks themselves are deleted (instead of being moved to “uncategorized”
    • Added “Email Passage” and “Text Passage” to the list of “Passage Actions”.
    • Various speed improvements and minor bug fixes.

This version of PocketBible will be uploaded to the App Store soon. We’re still working through all the issues brought about by the release of iOS 7. In the meantime, the only thing you really need to do is change your go-to-verse method.

So What Do We Think About All This

One of the frustrations with our industry as a whole and Apple in particular is the pace at which it changes. Most of the changes in iOS 7 that affect us are cosmetic. Apple has decided that it’s their user interface, not their limited availability and high price, that negatively impacts their sales. So they spent a lot of time turning everything flat, gray, and translucent. Many of those changes are applied to programs automatically, but not all of them are implemented well.

For example, in the intrest of transparency, the system status bar (the signal strength indicator and clock across the top) is now transparent. That’s great, but our app is used to a solid status bar and would never bother to put anything behind it. Now, since that bar is transparent, the OS tells us it isn’t there and tricks us into writing under it. So when the status bar is laid over top, it just is unreadable since it’s either black or white text on top of a white page of black text. So we had to take the time to create a little colored rectangle to put under the status bar so you can see it.

While changing the look of table views (those lists of contacts, appointments, settings, etc. that you see all over iOS), they decided the headings between groups of choices should ALWAYS BE UPPER CASE. So it looks like THE PHONE IS YELLING AT YOU all the time. Furthermore, they limited the text to six lines without documenting the limit nor truncating the text. So it’s possible for text to flow over the list items. This would be fine if they provided a way to say DON’T YELL AT ME but they didn’t. So we had to implement custom text views to put in those locations.

This is all characteristic of a philosophy that has little sense of history or the importance of supporting existing apps, existing versions of the OS, or existing hardware. For example, PocketBible 3 will be compatible with iOS 5 devices, but you won’t find much, if any, mention of iOS 5 from Apple. I know people running iOS 4 and 5 who just never bother to plug their device into their PC/Mac to download updates. It’s working for them, so why bother? I’m typing this blog article on a PC running Windows XP. It works great. Why upgrade? Apple doesn’t understand this idea. They assume everyone rushes out and buys a new phone every year or two, or they at least upgrade the operating system every time an update is available.

As a result of this blindness to the past, it’s not unusual to discover that something is broken in the OS and it’s just never going to get fixed. For example, we depend on a particular method being called (viewWillDisappear:) when one of our “dialog boxes” is dismissed. I found out yesterday that iOS 7 breaks that rule (it’s been around since version 2) in certain cases. As a result, instead of one programmer at Apple fixing one bug, it creates millions of bugs in hundreds of thousands of apps, and each of those hundreds of thousands of programmers has to take an hour or two to figure out how to work around it. Apple doesn’t care because programmers who start programming new apps tomorrow will never know any differenc and will always code as if viewWillDisappear: won’t always be called, and they are the only ones who matter.

It’s as if Apple has incubation pods where they harvest new programmers. They pull them out of their drawer and they start writing code with no sense of what came before. A year later, after working 24×7 with no sleep, they are recycled to feed the next batch, which are harvested just in time to release the next unnecessary update to the operating system.

Anyway…

We’re still in the process of making changes, but this is just a couple little things we’ve run into in the process of moving PocketBible to iOS 7. We think you’ll like PocketBible 3 when we’re done, but it’s going to take a couple more weeks to get there. In the meantime, change your go-to-verse settings and 2.0.6 will continue to work fine.

New for PocketBible: Hard Sayings of the Bible

Posted on: September 19th, 2013 by Michelle Stramel No Comments

Hard Sayings of the Bible CoverThis new PocketBible title from InterVarsity Press (IVP) is a unique commentary that focuses on the difficult passages of Scripture. Hard Sayings of the Bible was originally published in five volumes by IVP:

  • The Hard Sayings of Jesus by F.F. Bruce
  • Hard Sayings of the Old Testament by Walter C. Kaiser
  • More Hard Sayings of the Old Testament by Walter C. Kaiser
  • Hard Sayings of Paul by by Manfred T. Brauch
  • More Hard Sayings of the New Testament by Peter H. Davids

The PocketBible edition of Hard Sayings of the Bible combines these best-selling volumes into one volume along with new material from Walter Kaiser and Peter Davids. Over one hundred new verses have been added to the list of texts explained, as well as a dozen introductory articles addressing common questions that recur throughout the Bible.

The original “hard saying” of the Bible was John 6:53. This passage is explained as well as over 500 more. What makes a verse or passage a “hard saying?” “What F. F. Bruce wrote in his introduction to The Hard Sayings of Jesus can likely be said of nearly all the difficult texts in this collection: they may be hard for two different reasons. First are those that, because of differences in culture and time, are hard to understand without having their social and historical backgrounds explained. Second are those that are all too easily understood but that challenge the ways we think and act…”

Hard Sayings of the Bible requires PocketBible for iPhone/iPad/iPod touch, PocketBible for Windows Phone, PocketBible for Android, PocketBible for Windows Store, PocketBible for Windows PC or MyBible for Palm OS. The list price is $19.99.

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