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Posts Tagged ‘Free software’

PocketBible for Mac OS X Review

Posted on: September 30th, 2014 by Craig Rairdin No Comments

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 6.56.40 PMChristian Computing Magazine has published a review of PocketBible for Mac OS X, calling it “one of the fastest and most Mac-like Bible apps available”.

You can read the full review here.

Among other compliments, reviewer Kevin Purcell called PocketBible, “…a simple to use, speedy way to quickly look up verses, search for that passage you’re trying to find and access your PocketBible books. Most lay Bible students will really enjoy PocketBible and more advanced students should consider adding it to their arsenal for those times they want to quickly find something in the Bible.”

Kevin’s review does a pretty good job of covering a wide range of features in the program and overall has a positive impression of the program. He does raise a number of points that he sees as weaknesses of the program, which I’d like to acknowledge and adress. These fall into three categories:

Features That Are Already in the Program

Kevin would like to use ⌘-W to close a pane in PocketBible. The problem is that ⌘-W actually means “close the active window” in OS X. PocketBible has exactly one window, so closing that window is equivalent to closing the program. In order to keep the user from inadvertently exiting the program, we disabled this feature. The good news is that all shortcut keys are reconfigurable in all apps in OS X. So if you’d like ⌘-W to close the active pane in PocketBible, just go to System Preferences in the Apple menu, choose the Keyboard preference pane, choose Keyboard Shortcuts, choose Application Shortcuts, add PocketBible, and add (or change) any shortcut for any function in PocketBible to use whatever key you would like.

One of the challenges we face on every platform is deciding how to use limited user interface real estate. In particular, the toolbar. Depending on the size of your screen and the width of the window in which you choose to run PocketBible, you may only have room for a half-dozen toolbar buttons. Since everyone uses PocketBible differently, we put what we thought were the essential features on the toolbar by default, and provide a way that you can customize the toolbar to match the way you use the program. Kevin disagrees with the buttons that are there by default. The ones he wants to add are not ones that I would want to take up space for. And I’m sure the configuration of toolbar buttons you prefer would not satisfy either one of us. So we make it customizable, just as you’ll find in most other Mac apps.

One of the features mentioned in the review that is at least partially implemented in the current version of PocketBible (with more coming soon in the Advanced Feature Set) is the ability to see where a verse is discussed in a particular reference book. PocketBible allows you to enter a verse reference in its search field and see everywhere that verse is referenced in the current book or Bible. This feature of the search pane wasn’t mentioned in the review.

Features That Are Coming Soon

Several users, including Kevin, have asked for a “download all books” button. We’ve resisted that because we provide every user with a large number of free Bibles and reference books that most people won’t want cluttering their library. But it’s simple enough to do, so we’ve already added that feature. You’ll see it in the next update to the program.

Features That Will Be Part of the Advanced Feature Set

As we’ve discussed in the past and  announced during the Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign that launched PocketBible for Mac, we intend to produce an “Advanced Feature Set” add-on for PocketBible that will enable additional features in the program. We already do this for iOS, Windows Store, and Windows Phone. We’re working on it for Android and Mac, where it is currently in the hands of our beta testers.

The review mentions the fact that you can’t save your screen layout. That is, if you have several different screen configurations you’d like to use depending on what you’re doing at any given time, you have to completely reconfigure the layout from scratch each time. The free version of PocketBible offers a lot of options for adding and configuring panes so that you have a lot of flexibility for laying out the screen the way you want it. But if you want to save those configurations, you’ll need the Advanced Feature Set. It will allow you to create multiple, named, tabbed layouts. These can be created, deleted, renamed, and rearranged to meet your needs.

Kevin also mentions the need for a feature that would show you everything all the books in your library have to say about a particular verse. We’ll be addressing that in two ways. First, the Advanced Feature Set will contain a Library Search pane that will let you not only search your entire library for a given word or phrase, but also for a given verse. So you’ll be able to see which commentaries contain a discussion of a given passage, then quickly link there to read more.

In addition to Library Search, the Advanced Feature Set will contain an updated version of Autostudy from PocketBible for iOS. This feature lets you automatically create a document containing everything your library has to say about a given word or verse. Autostudy documents can be viewed inside PocketBible but can also be printed, saved as PDF, or saved as an HTML file that can be opened in your browser or word processor.

Conclusions

We’re pretty pleased with this review. We feel like we either have already addressed or will very shortly be addressing every shortcoming Kevin mentioned. Kevin accurately describes PocketBible for OS X as “lightning fast and simple to master”, which is exactly what we were going for. If you want to follow Kevin’s advice to “drop everything and download PocketBible for Mac” you can do so here!

PocketBible for Mac OS X is Now Available

Posted on: August 22nd, 2014 by Craig Rairdin 6 Comments

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 6.56.40 PMWe’re pleased to announce that version 1.0 of PocketBible for Mac OS X is now available for download at the Laridian website! You can find out more about PocketBible and hundreds of Bibles and reference books available now for Mac here.

Easier Searching

The Mac version of PocketBible implements an improved search algorithm we first introduced in PocketBible for Android a few weeks ago. Rather than asking you to learn the language of Boolean algebra and regular expressions in order to be able to formulate a search specification, PocketBible allows you to simply tell it what you’re looking for, like ”faith comes by hearing”. PocketBible performs about a dozen parallel searches to find not only every verse in which the phrase you’re searching for occurs, but also verses in which words that sound like or have the same root word as the words you’re looking for appear in the same order or close to the same order as you entered them. The result is that PocketBible for Mac OS X is more likely to find the verse you’re looking for than were previous versions. So a search for “faith comes by hearing” finds Romans 10:7 in the KJV even though in that verse, “comes” is “cometh”.

PocketBible for Mac also takes advantages of capabilities of our electronic books that we have never exposed before. For example, you can search a commentary not just for its discussion of a passage, but for everywhere the passage is mentioned.

Download Free

PocketBible for Mac requires OS X 10.7 and is available as a free download. Installation is easy: open the downloaded disk image and drag the PocketBible icon to the Applications folder (just like any number of Mac apps you download from the Web). PocketBible will prompt you to create an account or log into your existing account to gain access to dozens of free Bibles and reference books, or in the case that you are already a Laridian Bible software user on another platform, access to Bibles and books you’ve previously purchased for use in that program. Once you’ve entered your login credentials, you download books directly from the “Cloud Library” feature of the program as opposed to downloading an installation program from our website. Watch instructions below:

Sync your Personal Data

If you have notes, highlights, bookmarks, or devotional reading progress in another version of PocketBible that you have sync’ed to the Laridian Cloud server, you can turn on automatic synchronization in PocketBible for Mac and have access to all your user-created data on that platform as well.

Customize the Screen Layout

PocketBible allows you to customize the screen layout, arranging books into any number of tiled panes. You can open any number of books in each pane. Panes can be resized, and books can be moved from one pane to another by simply dragging the tab corresponding to the book into the tab bar of the target pane.

There’s More to Come!

As good as PocketBible is, we’re not done with it yet! We’ll be implementing a number of advanced features that will be available for a nominal price. These include multiple tabbed layouts, the ability to rename your highlight colors, journal notes (notes that are not connected to a Bible verse), and an expanded Autostudy feature you may have seen in PocketBible for iOS. We’ll have more to say about the Advanced Feature Set in upcoming weeks.

In the meantime, the best way to find out how PocketBible for Mac OS X can enhance your Bible study is to download it today!

PocketBible for Android v1.2.0

Posted on: June 10th, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 13 Comments

PocketBible for Android version 1.2.0 has been released to 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 feature in this version is the ability to add notes to Bible verses. If you have previously taken notes with other versions of PocketBible, these can now be synchronized to your Android OS device. Your data must first be synced from the other devices to the Laridian Cloud. Version 1.2.0 also includes a fix for an SD card storage issue which popped up in the latest version of Android (4.4+ – kitkat).

You can see the new note-taking feature in action here:

PocketBible for Mac OS X Update

Posted on: January 9th, 2014 by Craig Rairdin 4 Comments

PocketBible for Mac OS X 1-9-14It’s been a while since I updated you on our progress on PocketBible for Mac OS X, so I thought I’d do that here.

For those of you who don’t follow us as closely as we’d like to think you all do, last summer we launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the development of a Mac OS X version of PocketBible. The campaign was successful, so in August we started working on it.

We ran into some problems right away, as iOS 7 took a large percentage of our attention in September and November. And in October. And quite a bit in December. But I think that is behind us.

As you can see, there is some rudimentary functionality in place. I spent a lot of time up-front working on details of the user interface. I’m trying to build a sturdy framework on which to hang functionality. So it may seem like the program doesn’t do much yet, and it doesn’t. But there is a lot going on under the hood.

For example, all the shared C++ code that reads our Laridian Book (LBK) files has been imported into the program and is working great. You’re seeing real Bible text being displayed. And the program is able to access our server to get a list of the books you own (well, currently, it always gets the list of books I own, but once I add some user interface so you can enter your own customer ID and password, it will get your list). It allows you to maintain multiple layouts so that you can configure one for devotional reading, one for sermon prep, one for Greek word studies, etc. without having to open and close books all the time.

PocketBible Mac OS X Cloud Lib 1-9-2014While implementing PocketBible for Windows Phone and Windows Store, we added a capability to download cover art for every book. I’m taking advantage of that in the Mac version to display cover art for every book when you go to download it, and again when you select a book to open. Cover art is downloaded in a “background thread” which just means it doesn’t make you wait while it gets all those image files. It is cached locally so you don’t have to download it every time.

The screen shot on the right shows the “Cloud Library” function where you see a list of all the books you own. Unlike the iOS version of PocketBible, the list is organized by type of book (Bibles, commentaries, dictionaries, etc.) to make it easier to navigate. Books you’ve already downloaded are dimmed, or you can check the box to hide them entirely.

The “Open Book” dialog looks very similar, except it only shows you books that you’ve already downloaded from our server and installed on your Mac.

The program will support the “type-n-go” feature of the Windows Desktop version. This allows you to simply type “John 3:16″ to go to that verse, or even type “find jesus” to find everywhere in the Bible “Jesus” is mentioned. I’ve implemented an early form of this feature, which is really handy for testing. That is, I can test my go-to-verse functionality before inventing a fancy book/chapter/verse chooser.

Even though a large percentage of the code is shared with PocketBible for iOS (developing for iOS and for Mac uses the same Xcode programming environment, Cocoa class library, and Objective-C/C++ programming languages), a lot of the design of the text display system will actually be ported from the Java code in our Android version. This means we’ll be able to have continuous scrolling of the text, which we chose not to support in the iOS version.

Remember that we carefully construct our screen shots to hide all the bugs. Don’t assume since you’re looking at Bible text that the program is done. We think we’re still on schedule but there’s a lot left to do. I just thought I’d bring you up to date.

If you’re a Kickstarter contributor but you have not been notified yet about your reward(s), please contact support@laridian.com and tell us about it. We think we’ve fulfilled all the rewards we can (obviously the program itself hasn’t shipped) so if you haven’t heard from us it means we must be missing you on our list.

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.

New! 3 Month Bible Reading Plan

Posted on: June 10th, 2013 by Michelle Stramel 3 Comments

Just in time for the summer! We have released a “through-the-Bible” reading plan that will help you stay in the Bible during these relaxed months. Our new 3 month (92 day) plan takes you through the entire Bible with a selection from the Old Testament and New Testament for each day. Perfect for summer or any 3 month period in the year.

This free reading plan is automatically available for download on your device if you are using PocketBible for iOS, Android, Windows Phone or Windows Store. If you are using PocketBible for Windows PC or Windows Mobile or MyBible for Palm OS, you can add this plan to your account here and download it to your device.

If you prefer less reading per day, we also offer a 3 Month Reading Plan that takes you through the entire New Testament. This plan is available as part of our Laridian Reading Plans Bundle.

Now available! PocketBible for Windows Store

Posted on: May 9th, 2013 by Michelle Stramel 23 Comments

Windows 8 users, this one’s for you! We are pleased to announce the availability of PocketBible on the Windows Store. Download it now for free!

PocketBible for Windows Store runs on devices using Windows 8 (includes tablets, laptops, desktops). We think you’ll find this an amazing new version of PocketBible with a true Windows 8 look and feel! PocketBible for Windows Store features include:

  • 40+ Free Bibles and books with registration. Download past purchases of Bibles and books into the app at no charge. The 20 title download limit in the app can be exceeded with purchase of Advanced Feature Set ($6.99).
  • Move easily through Bibles and books by simply scrolling. Quickly move around the bible using an intuitive table of contents display
  • Quickly find any word or phrase
  • Split screen display
  • Mark your place with bookmarks
  • Share verses by Text, Email or Facebook
  • Use the daily reading feature to visually track your progress through a devotional book
  • Pin a book to your start screen!

We hope you’ll support continued development of PocketBible on this platform by purchasing the Advanced Feature Set for $6.99. Advanced Features include:

  • Highlighting of Bible text
  • Add notes to any verse of the Bible
  • Synchronize bookmarks, highlights and bookmarks with our server and your other devices that use PocketBible (and are able to synchronize)
  • Split screen into 2 to 5 windows
  • Download as many Bibles and books as you own (no limit but based on what you own)
  • Quickly access recent verses

If you are using Windows 8, we hope you’ll give PocketBible for Windows Store a try and let us know what you think!

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.

Greek New Testament Now Available for PocketBible for Windows

Posted on: September 12th, 2012 by Michelle Stramel 7 Comments


The SBL Greek New Testament is now available for use with PocketBible for Windows (versions 1.100 and later).

The SBL Greek New Testament is a new text edited by Michael W. Holmes. Mr. Holmes utilized a wide range of printed editions, all the major critical apparatuses, and the latest technical resources and manuscript discoveries as he established the text. The result is a critically edited text that differs from the Nestle-Aland/United Bible Societies text in more than 540 variation units. This new text was jointly sponsored by the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) and Logo Bible Software to provide a free, reliable, critically edited version of the Greek New Testament for use by students, teachers, pastors and laypeople throughout the world.

The PocketBible version of this text is available for use with PocketBible for Windows, Windows PC-based Bible software which can be ordered and downloaded for free. Current users of PocketBible for Windows will need to update to version 1.100 (book reader engine version 1.071) to use the Greek text. This can be done by logging in to your Laridian account at the Laridian web site and downloading the latest version of the software.

PocketBible for Windows Updated

Version 1.100 of PocketBible for Windows includes the following updates and fixes:

  • Support for Greek books:
    • Searching
      • Added underscore (_) as a wildcard character that matches zero or more diacritical marks
      • Modified question mark (?) wildcard character to match one character and its attached diacritical marks
      • Enabled Greek character support in the search entry fields
      • Searching requires the installation of a Greek keyboard input method in Windows, which is done through the Control Panel and is fully described in the updated Help included with the program
    • Hover text (tool tips)
    • Copy/Paste
    • Added capital letters with iota subscript to Laridian Greek font
    • Normalized the order of Greek diacriticals in books, search phrases, and notes
  • Note Editor changes:
    • Added <pb_lang> HTML Helper
    • Used the font and size selected by the user for the Note Tab in the Personalization Window. Notes are now displayed and edited using the same font.
  • Other enhancements:
    • Changed the behavior of phrase searches so that punctuation between words in a book will not cause it not to match
    • Updated the Help file
  • Bug fixes:
    • Fixed a bug introduced in 1.014 where the wrong Bible abbreviation would be attached to text copied using Copy Passage (“KJVEC” instead of “KJV” and “HCSBEC” instead of “HCSB”.
    • Fixed a long-standing bug in which browsing to a new verse while editing a note with the note lock turned off would cause an error, and doing so with the lock turned on would cause the note to be saved to the current verse instead of the verse it was originally on. Also put code in place to keep user from editing or deleting a note that was already being edited.
    • Fixed a bug in which accented characters in the name of a book or Bible were displayed as HTML character entities instead of the actual character.
    • Fixed a long-standing bug in which the left mouse button appeared to be stuck down after opening or closing a book in parallel display mode. This caused text to be highlighted as the mouse was moved until the user clicked the mouse or toggled the “parallel” button.
    • Fixed a problem in which book categories were not indicated correctly for the NABRE. (May not have affected the Windows version.)

What’s free with PocketBible?

Posted on: June 28th, 2012 by Michelle Stramel 2 Comments

Free PocketBible Books

We often get asked about what free books are available for use with PocketBible. Here’s a one-stop answer to that question.

We offer a variety of free books in different book categories so you can try the program out and see what it can do as well as build your library. Step one is to make sure you actually own PocketBible (or one of our related readers/software programs). Or in other words, you need a reader even to use the free books we offer.

All versions of PocketBible are free to download. This includes PocketBible for iOS (aka iPhone/iPad/iPod touch), Android OS, Windows PC, Windows Mobile and Palm OS. Laridian Bibles also work with Simple Bible Pro for webOS and Noah Bible Study Viewer for BlackBerry (non-PocketBible programs have to be purchased – see product pages for details).

Once you have PocketBible downloaded for your smartphone, tablet or PC, you can download and access our free books (as well as any titles you purchase). For iOS and Android OS, the books are available to you upon registration automatically. Simply log in to your Laridian account within the program and download them. For other platforms or devices, you must order them on our web site (links are below) to add them to your Laridian account for download.

We can offer these titles free because they are in the public domain (not copyrighted). If you have any suggestions for other public domain titles you’d like to see us publish, let us know in the comments below.

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