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Windows Phone: Call for Testers

Posted on: April 22nd, 2013 by Michelle Stramel No Comments

We have had a fantastic response to our initial PocketBible for Windows Phone release. Many customers have been asking when synchronization would be available. We are very pleased to tell you that we are ready to ask for some testers to help us with testing synchronization!

Synchronization is such an important part of the product that we would like more testers to make sure it is ready for a full release. Please consider joining our test group here. The need for testers is immediate.

In the meantime we’ll try and answer some questions that you might have:

When will the updated version of PocketBible be available in the Windows Phone store?
We are still working through the process of releasing the application and make sure that it is finished. Your testing will help us to decide when it is ready.

Are there other new features in this version?
The main new feature is synchronization, there are other exciting changes which we are not ready to publicly announce yet.

When will the beta be released?
It is available right now if you participate in the beta testing.

How will you take feedback?
We have set up a private mailing group that will allow you to give us feedback and discuss it with other testers. The developers will be reading this and will be able to interact with you to resolve any problems and take your feedback.

PocketBible for Windows Phone now available!

Posted on: March 1st, 2013 by Michelle Stramel 19 Comments

We’re happy to announce that PocketBible for Windows Phone is now available for free download at the Windows Phone Store. This version of PocketBible works with Windows Phone 7.5 or later.

PocketBible for Windows Phone is designed to help you read and study the Bible on-the-go. It comes with the KJV Bible and you’ll be able to choose from 40 additional Bibles and reference books to download after registration. You will also be able to use any Laridian titles you’ve purchased in the past in this new program. An internet connection is not needed after initial download.

The standard features included with the free version of PocketBible for Windows Phone allow you to install up to 20 books at a time and use them for reading and studying. You can also search through and bookmark your books. Advanced Features are available for $6.99 and allow you to download an unlimited number of titles, view multiple books at once, add highlighting and notes and more. Additional Bibles and books can be purchased for use with the program at the Laridian website.

PocketBible for Android Now on Google Play!

Posted on: February 22nd, 2013 by Craig Rairdin 87 Comments

You can now download PocketBible for Android directly from Google Play. This has the advantage of giving you automatic update notifications and allows those users who cannot install third-party software outside Google Play to download the app. For those of you who have devices that do not have Google Play, you can still download the program directly from us by just entering LPB.cc/android into your Web browser on your Android device.

This doesn’t mean we’re done working on PocketBible for Android. We set a goal for ourselves of having certain features implemented prior to release on Google Play and once that goal was reached we uploaded the program. But we continue to add features. In particular, we need to get notes, highlights, and bookmarks working in the program, along with tracking of your devotional reading progress. These features will be enhanced as compared to our iOS (iPhone/iPad) version, as your data will be kept in continuous sync with “Laridian cloud” instead of requiring you to stop what you’re doing and perform a sync operation manually.

The released version of PocketBible for Android on the Google Play store should install over your “alpha” version. You shouldn’t have to delete the program before installing from Google Play, nor should you have to re-download your Bibles and books when you’re done.

The new version includes built-in help, so the old blog article that contained operating instructions will be retired soon.

We want to thank those of you who have been using the “alpha” versions of PocketBible from our site. We’ve been able to eliminate most of the major show-stopping bugs with your help.

Going forward, if you need help with PocketBible for Android, contact Technical Support through the “Help Desk” link on our website.

What is your ideal size for a mobile device?

Posted on: January 24th, 2013 by Michelle Stramel 33 Comments

The other day I got in an unexpected discussion with my 14-year old nephew about iPad minis. Like most 14-year old boys, he is an expert on all things electronic. He informed me that when he heads to high school next year, they will each be given an iPad by the school. He then mentioned he was glad it was not an iPad mini because he finds them to be worthless devices with no purpose for existence. He feels the mini is the wrong size for anything meaningful. Too small to replace a laptop. Too big to carry around. And definitely the wrong size to play games on.

I own an iPad and iPhone. I haven’t even held the mini let alone considered purchasing one. However, I have been drooling over the Galaxy Note to replace my iPhone for many months (so long in fact that the Note I wanted has become the Note II). Bottom line, I want a bigger phone. From Twitter to PocketBible, I like the bigger screen size of my iPad yet I don’t want to lug it around everywhere. So the solution in my mind has been to get a bigger phone like the Note.

Today I came across this article on ZDNET by Matt Baxter-Reynolds, “Has Apple redefined the tablet as an 8-inch device?” where he explains how he fell in love with the iPad mini and ditched his iPad. He makes a case for this middle size device becoming the new norm with the popularity of devices like the iPad mini, Google’s Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire. He’s got me thinking about getting a mini to replace everything!

What do you think? Could you live with one device for everything? What is your ideal mobile device size?

Study Bible or Commentary – which is better?

Posted on: January 17th, 2013 by Michelle Stramel 5 Comments

Study Bibles have become very popular over the last few decades. Today they come in many sizes and flavors with some even targeted at specific groups (i.e. women, grandmothers, teens) or purposes (i.e. apologetics, archaeology, recovery). Study Bibles offer a combination of Bible text, brief commentary and extra study helps such as maps, tables, and explanatory or introductory articles. With PocketBible, we provide the study part separately from the Bible text so you can mix and match (with the exception of the ESV Study Bible which includes the Bible text). By “mix and match”, we mean you could use the NIV Study Bible Notes side-by-side with your NKJV Bible or your NLT Study Bible Notes with your ESV Bible.

Think of study Bibles as the Swiss army knife of Bible learning. You get a little bit of everything but you sacrifice depth for breadth as compared to a single purpose tool like a commentary or Bible atlas. For example, the notes or commentary part of a study Bible are designed for quick insight into the Bible. There simply isn’t room for lengthy arguments about what everyone thinks a passage means as is done with multi-volume commentaries.

It’s easy to see the benefit of having a multi-volume commentary on your phone but what about a study Bible? There is still a weight factor to consider even with study Bibles! Wouldn’t you rather have a study Bible on your phone than carry around a mammoth book (even if it is only one volume)? Plus, study Bibles offer extensive cross-references which are more convenient to check with PocketBible.

One of the frustrations I have with study Bibles in general is that they don’t always have a comment on the verse I am interested in. Unfortunately, for brevity’s sake, most study Bibles won’t comment on every verse in the Bible. Thus, it is a good idea to have at least one verse-by-verse commentary in your PocketBible library. On the positive side, if you just want a quick understanding of what a verse means, study Bibles are ideal. You can check there first and move to a commentary for more information. In this way, your study Bible and commentary can work hand-in-hand.

We often get asked “which study Bible is best?” Rather than say one is better than the other, we suggest you consider things like the Bible translation it is based on, any unique helps it offers and how much of the Bible it covers. Here is a comparison chart of the study Bibles we currently offer that can help you make a decision based on those features.

  Based on Bible Translation Study Notes Maps Charts Illustrations Unique Features Price
ESV Study Bible ESV (included) 20,000 200 200 40 80,000 cross-refs; 50 articles $34.99
NIV Study Bible Notes NIV 1984 Ed. 20,000 16+ 24 10 Topical and Note Index $14.99
NLT Study Bible Notes NLT 2nd Ed. 20,900 Yes Yes Yes Personality Profiles, Book Themes $14.99
Life Application NA 10,000 NA 200 NA Personality Profiles, TouchPoint Topics $14.99
MacArthur’s Study Bible Notes NKJV 20,000 35 100 10 Overview of Theology, Harmony of Gospels $39.99
Dake’s Study Bible Notes KJV 35,000 NA NA NA 500,000 cross-refs, Pentecostal, Dispensational $39.99
Women’s Study Bible Notes NA Hundreds NA Yes NA Topical Articles, Character Portraits, Quotes $29.99
Spirit of the Reformation NIV 1984 Ed. 20,000 NA NA NA Catechisms and Creeds, Reformed Theology Articles $14.99

Kindle Fire Installation Instructions

Posted on: January 4th, 2013 by Craig Rairdin 15 Comments

I was contacted by a customer yesterday who was having trouble installing PocketBible for Android on her Kindle Fire HD. When she first contacted me I don’t think she realized her Kindle was even an Android device, and she certainly wasn’t familiar with the concept of installing third-party apps except through the app store built into the Kindle. The instructions below got her up and running right away. You may not have a Kindle Fire HD, but the instructions should work in general for any Android device.


You need to make sure you’ve enabled “third party apps” on your Kindle. Go to Settings and look for “Device” (it may be in the “More…” menu). Look for “Allow Installation of Applications” and turn it on. On the HDX, this option is under Applications in Settings. You’ll get a warning message but that’s OK – they’re just trying to scare you into only buying software from Amazon. :-)

Once you’ve done that, just go to the Web browser on the Kindle and type in this:

http://LPB.cc/Android

PocketBible should automatically download. On some devices, you’ll be prompted to install the app but on the Kindle devices, you’ll have a few more steps

  • Original Kindle Fire and HD: You may have to tap the notification number next to your name in the upper left corner of the screen. You will then see a list of notifications. One of them should say something like com.laridian.pocketbible or pocketbible.apk and “download complete”. Select that one. You’ll be asked if you want to install PocketBible and it will ask if you want to allow PocketBible to use network communications and some other things. Choose the “install” button and when it’s done choose “open”.
  • Kindle Fire HDX: After you download from the Silk Browser, tap on the menu icon in the top left corner. Choose the Downloads option and you should see PocketBible.apk listed there. Tap on it and choose the install option to finish the process. If you prefer, you can watch of video of this.

Once PocketBible is installed you can choose it from the carousel like any other program. The PocketBible icon may look “blurry” but that’s OK — Amazon uses low-resolution icons for third-party apps because they’re upset that you didn’t give them any money to run the software on their device, so they want to make you think there’s something less than professional about our app. Don’t worry about that. :-)

New for PocketBible, IVP Dictionary of the OT: Pentateuch

Posted on: December 27th, 2012 by Michelle Stramel No Comments

The IVP Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch is our third release from the IVP Black Dictionary series and our first Old Testament volume.

As with the other dictionaries in this series, the IVP Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch represents the best of evangelical scholarship available today on this area of the study. The articles focus on both the biblical text and the conversation about that text among contemporary scholars. All articles were written exclusively for this dictionary and inform and challenge with authoritative overviews, detailed examinations and new insights from the world of the ancient Near East. Includes hundreds of cross-references and extensive bibliographies.

The IVP Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch sells for $39.99 and is available for use with PocketBible for iOS, Android, Windows PC and Windows Mobile. It is also available for use with MyBible for Palm OS.

8 Ways to Read through the Bible with PocketBible

Posted on: December 11th, 2012 by Michelle Stramel 14 Comments

My philosophy on Bible reading plans is similar to exercise: find what works for you and do it. We offer a variety of Bible reading plans you can use in PocketBible to get you in the Scriptures on a daily basis. And for those times when life interferes, PocketBible has easy-to-use tools to help you catch up, start over and keep going.

Which PocketBible Bible reading plan is best for you?

  1. M’Cheyne’s One Year Bible Reading Plan (free) was originally designed by the 19th century Scottish minister, Rev. Robert Murray M’Cheyne to encourage his congregation to read their Bibles. Each day offers two Family readings to be read during family devotions and two Secret readings to be read during personal devotions. At the end of 365 days, you’ll have gone through the New Testament and the Psalms twice and the rest of the Bible once. Since M’Cheyne recommends reading or singing through the Metrical Psalms at least once a year, we have published Scottish Metrical Psalms with Notes by John Brown for use with the reading plan (sold separately for $1.99).
  2. Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System (free) is a unique Bible reading plan. Each day you will read one chapter from each of ten lists for a total of ten chapters per day from the Bible. Since the lists vary in length, the readings begin interweaving in constantly changing ways. You will NEVER read the same set of ten chapters together again and you will experience the Bible commenting on itself in constantly changing ways.
  3. Laridian Reading Plans (free) is a collection of 7 Bible reading plans. We often get requests for a plan that includes a selection from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs for each day. That type of plan is included in this set.
  4. The One Year Chronological Bible Reading Plan ($7.99) provides a reading plan for the entire Bible–books, chapters, and even verses–arranged in the order the events actually happened.
  5. One Year Through The Bible Devotional ($9.99) guides you through the entire Bible in a year with commentary. Each day includes a Bible passage to read with a practical and helpful devotional written by one of the authors of the Life Application Study Bible.
  6. The Daily Walk Devotional ($9.99) is a publication of Walk thru the Bible Ministries. It too is a reading plan plus devotional. Along with your assigned reading for the day you get a related overview, application and insight for the passage.
  7. One Year Bible Companion ($9.99) offers a daily reading assignment with verses taken from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs for each day. This plan offers variety in what you read plus key questions and answers to enhance your daily Bible reading.
  8. OT/NT in 3 Months (free) – tackle this 90 day Bible reading plan any time of the year. Each day offers a selection from the Old Testament and New Testament.

The Bible reading plans mentioned above simply list the verses you are to read each day. You can then link from the verses to any of your Bibles in PocketBible to read the assigned verses in a translation you like. The devotionals mentioned above offer similar verse links but add devotional comments to the verses you have been assigned to read for the day.

If you have a Bible reading plan but want to start over read our tips on Starting your Bible Reading Plan or Devotional Over for a New Year.

New for PocketBible: Wiersbe’s Bible Commentary

Posted on: November 28th, 2012 by Michelle Stramel No Comments

Weirsbe's CommentaryStudy the Bible verse by verse with one of America’s best-loved Pastors, Warren Wiersbe. Former Bible teacher for Back to the Bible radio program, Warren Wiersbe is known for his warm, personal style in sharing the truth of Scripture. Recently released for use with PocketBible and MyBible, the Wiersbe Bible Commentaries are based on his popular “Be” Series of Bible study books.

Wiersbe’s “Be” Series were originally published as 50 titles covering the entire Bible. Over 4 million of these titles are in print. Now the practical wisdom and insight of this series can be available to you as you study the Bible in PocketBible with the Wiersbe Bible Commentaries.

PocketBible 2.0.6 Available on the App Store

Posted on: October 31st, 2012 by Craig Rairdin 14 Comments

We’ve just been notified that our latest update to PocketBible (version 2.0.6) has been approved by Apple. It should become available in the App Store over the next 24 hours.

We apologize for the delay getting our iOS6-compatibility fixes into PocketBible. We ran into a couple of issues getting our update past the Apple approval process. In the end, being forced to address those issues caused us to find a couple tricky bugs that wouldn’t have turned up otherwise. But the whole process ended up taking longer than we wanted.

The complete list of new features and bug fixes is below, but a couple are worth highlighting. First, this version adds support for the Greek New Testament. You should find the SBL Greek New Testament in your list of downloadable books in “Add/Remove Books”. There are instructions in the built-in Help for enabling the Greek keyboard so that you can do searches in Greek.

Several bugs introduced in iOS 6 have been circumvented. In particular, you may have noticed PocketBible would only read the first verse on the screen to you when you asked it to start reading. This has been fixed. And it’s not really a bug, but PocketBible will now take advantage of the full height of the screen on the iPhone 5. (This wouldn’t have been a problem except that Apple “lies” to our app when we request the size of the iPhone 5 screen, apparently to maintain compatibility with apps that aren’t as clever as PocketBible by making them think they’re running on an older device.)

I believe we’ve finally fixed the problem of books and voices disappearing when memory runs low. Apple changed the way they do this a couple of times over the last year or so and kept defeating our efforts to preserve our files. We think we have it figured out now.

Finally, PocketBible now requires at least iOS 5. The latest version of the development tools only produces ARMv7 binaries and there are no ARMv7 devices that don’t support iOS 5. We’d like to support older versions of the operating system, but we’re limited by what the development tools support.

 

What’s new in this version?

  • Support for the SBL Greek New Testament including display, searching and copy/paste.
  • Added “Find Selection” to the Selection menu. Rearranged the Selection and Context menus to put more frequently used items closer to the top.
  • iOS 6 compatiblity including:
    • Fixed a bug where PocketBible would stop after one verse when speaking the text
    • Addressed rotation issues
    • Added 4″ Retina launch image and support for the full height of the new iPhone 5 screen
  • Bug fixes including
    • Fixed a bug in certain books with images where they did not appear when “shrink to fit” was selected
    • Changed the way text is selected to address sluggishness on devices with Retina displays
    • Fixed a problem that manifested in ZIBBCNT and HBH where images in tables were not shown if “shrink images to fit” was selected.
    • Made sure the built-in KJV, Help, and Welcome documents plus downloaded voices all get marked as “do not back up to iCloud”.
    • Related to the above, downloaded books and voices were moved to a folder that should not be purged under low memory conditions.
  • Set the minimum iOS version supported to 5.0.

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