Archive for year 2008

Does that work with my mobile device?

Olive Tree provides a wide range of products for a variety of mobile devices. This is wonderful for our customers – so many choices! But it also can be overwhelming. We get questions like, “Does your software work with my mobile device?” “What products work with my mobile device?” and “I had this mobile device but now I have a new one, can I still use my Bibles?”

In an effort to help you find just what you want and what will work with your mobile device our website has a way of picking out just what will work with a particular mobile device. On our main page you will see a section entitled “Choose a device.” From here you can either choice from our selective list or use the drop-down menus to choose from our full list. There are two ways you can find what you need; either you can find your specific device (which it seems there are new devices every day that we try to keep up with) or you can choose by the Operating System that your mobile device uses. Once you are able to select your mobile device or Operating System and have chosen it our website will now only show you items that will work with your device. This works well if you have a particular product in mind and can find out if it works with your mobile device.

But what if you are just browsing and want to see all the products offered for a specific mobile device or Operating System? Well here is a simple solution. On the main page go to the box that says, “Olive Tree Announces. Click on “480+ total Bible resources”, this will take you to a screen that will list all of the products we offer. Now, you want to see what works with your mobile device? At the top of the screen you will see “Please select your current device” click on it and you will be taken to a new window that will give you many ways to select your mobile device. Choose either your device, “By Manufacturer” or “By Platform” (Operating System). Once selected you will be taken back to the master list but now it will only show you the items that work with your mobile device. Now you can see at a glance everything that works with your device!

Michael Borgstede ~ Olive Tree Tech Support and Associate Pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in beautiful Aurora Colorado. Michael is married to Sara and has four children. He uses a Palm Centro.

The Oldest Words and the Newest Technologies

When you immerse yourself in an inspiring eBook and the bus ride home goes by in a flash, or when finding a Bible verse is as easy as reaching into your pocket or purse—that’s the purest experience of the value of Olive Tree software. The words of the Bible, or any number of other Christian resources, are right there in the palm of your hand for reading and studying.

Most of us don’t need in-depth knowledge of the technology that makes all this possible—as long as we can make our PDA work, we’re fine. But for Olive Tree software engineers, this complex technological and programming aspect is what they spend most of their days thinking about.

Underneath the words you see on the screen is the hardworking BibleReader, telling your handheld device how to deliver the text to you in a readable format. But every mobile device is different, and that’s why BibleReader is a multi-platform application—it works with many different kinds of devices. Currently, Olive Tree has 14 builds of BibleReader on 5 platforms (4 for the Palm OS, 2 for Windows Mobile, 6 for Symbian, 1 for BlackBerry, and 1 for J2ME).

That’s a lot of different versions, and the market for mobile devices is changing and expanding all the time. You’ve probably heard of the iPhone, the newest device to make a splash in the mobile market. As you may also know, Apple recently released the beta version of the Software Developer’s Kit for iPhone.

Have you seen Olive Tree’s iPhone Bible survey? In a world where there are so many mobile devices and platforms to choose from, advice from our customers really makes a difference in where Olive Tree decides to go. And if you complete this survey, you’ll also get a coupon for 20% off your next Olive Tree purchases. We value your input!

We know as well as you do how exciting it can be to upgrade to the next sleek new mobile device, and our software engineers work hard to stay ahead of the game in a world where technology is always changing. All this means you can keep reading the timeless words of the Bible, and enjoying the inspirational and educational writings of other Christian authors, no matter what cutting-edge technology is in your hand—or how it changes over time.

The oldest words and the newest technologies . . . it’s a strange and wonderful combination, isn’t it?

~Sarah P.

Sarah Peterson works for Olive Tree Bible Software as a Project Manager and Administrative Assistant. She has an M.Div. from Earlham School of Religion, of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Richmond, Indiana and serves as a youth minister at her home meeting in Spokane, Washington.

A Library in my Pocket

As a new member of the Olive Tree Bible Software team, I wanted to take the opportunity to share with you several of the reasons I love Olive Tree. First, it might be helpful to know a little of my background with Olive Tree. I found Olive Tree’s Bible Reader as a seminary student in the late 90′s. The idea of having a library in my pocket instantly struck me as a shift in category from prior ways of thinking.

Prior to this I had sort of snubbed the idea of using my handheld (at that time a Visor Neo with a monochrome screen) for serious reading. It seemed that the small screen would make reading an impossibility. The slew of book readers I had seen and tried had generally failed to prove their value to me. Then came BibleReader.

I was instantly intrigued with putting God’s Word on my PDA and having access to Scripture on a device that I was already carrying with me everywhere. So, I bought the NLT and intended mainly to use it as a way to find those references no one ever remembers. I also looked forward to using the program for devotional use.

It was not long before I found myself using BibleReader much more than I had expected. As the feature-set developed and things like Auto-scrolling became available, I found my PDA coming out more and more. Then as original language resources became available (and the BHS is now astounding with the Unicode font) my peers were astounded when we could find out proper grammatical information on a text or word with my Palm device.

Several devices later, one of the only programs that has made the journey from my first PDA is BibleReader. I have used it for everything from the public reading of Scripture (large fonts & auto-scroll) to sermon preparation (the original language resources & commentary selection is outstanding & growing) to personal devotion (creating your own Bible reading schedule through the Desktop Assistant or one of the existing ones – including user generated) to reading books that I would never be able to take on the go (Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology). All of this with resources stored locally on my device, I don’t even have to have an internet connection! As long as my batteries work, BibleReader is there for me.

Now I am excited to be a part of the Tech Support & Document Formatting process at Olive Tree. I’m thrilled at our growing community of users who are sharing their support knowledge through our Support Forums. I’ll be looking for you in the forums soon!

With more & more mobile platforms and devices to put Olive Tree’s Bible Reader on, there is plenty of work ahead. And, the future looks great!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Matt Hudson works for Olive Tree Bible Software in Tech Support & Document formatting. He lives in Houston, TX with his wife and four children (with one on the way). He holds an M.Div. from Beeson Divinity School, Birmingham, AL and is actively involved in his local church in Houston.

BibleTech 2008 Roundup

This years BibleTech was a great event! I enjoyed meeting and talking with so many people that are passionate about the Bible and technology. The highlight of the conference for me was talking with so many people about Bible software and mobile technologies.

I also found Sean Boisen talks on zoomable user interfaces very thought provoking. Almost all of the talks I went to were very applicable and interesting.
You can find some great summaries of some of the talks on palmsolo and blogos.

I also had a great and entertaining time playing rock band with some of the logos developers. Singing is not one of their talents (it certainly isn’t mine) :)
If you are interested in the Bible and technology I would highly recommend going to the next BibleTech.


BibleTech 2008

BibleTech 2008 in Seattle was great…

More details coming later this week, but check out the article on BibleTech08: Day 2 – Session 04, The Challenges & Future of Bible Software in a Mobile World.

Advanced Rendering of Hebrew and Aramaic Texts on Palm and Pocket PC

We at Olive Tree are excited about new developments in our handling of Hebrew and Aramaic texts. Over the past several months, we have moved to UNICODE!

In recent years, there have been impressive technological advances made for displaying languages like Hebrew and Aramaic with complex scripts, from the establishment and expansion of the UNICODE standard to the development of “smart fonts,” which position the glyphs in a context-sensitive manner. These developments have paved the way for some strikingly beautiful Hebrew and Aramaic fonts, most notably EzraSIL and SBL Hebrew. Handheld devices, however, have sought to meet their tight constraints on speed and storage by excising anything in the operating system that might be extraneous. As such, handheld devices generally do not include complex script support, with some not even supporting UNICODE at all. Thus, in general, Hebrew and Aramaic texts have not been able to be displayed in a manner that takes advantage of these recent breakthroughs in typography.

We are delighted to announce that we have overcome the limitations of the Palm and Windows Mobile operating systems with regard to complex script support! On these platforms, we are able to display Hebrew and Aramaic texts with all the beauty that recent UNICODE-based smart fonts have allowed. This includes our BHS (HMT) module with all of the vowels, cantillation marks, and symbols to which you are accustomed in the print edition of BHS. (Of course, this does not include the critical apparatus, the massora magnum, or the massora parva.) It also includes our BHS Add-On—Groves-Wheeler Westminster Hebrew Morphology module, which allows you to click on a Hebrew or Aramaic word, see the lexeme, morphological information, a gloss, and a link to the appropriate entry in an abridged version of the BDB dictionary, one of the finest dictionaries available for Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic. We also give independent access to BDB, so you can see the entry for any particular lexeme you would like, or you can browse through entries in BDB.

This new way of representing and displaying Hebrew and Aramaic also applies to our new Qumran (non-biblical texts) module, complete with editorial symbols, lexical and morphological information, a gloss, and a link to the appropriate entry in BDB (provided that you have the BHS Add-On—Groves-Wheeler Westminster Hebrew Morphology module). If you missed my blog article on the Qumran texts, you can find it here.

On Palm and Windows Mobile, you can view these Hebrew and Aramaic texts using the EzraSIL font, which looks virtually identical to the printed edition of BHS except that EzraSIL is easier to read when there are multiple marks around one consonant than the print edition is. On Windows Mobile, you have the additional option of downloading the freely available and aesthetically-pleasing SBL Hebrew font and using it as well.

I think that the results of this new way of displaying the texts are really quite stunning, but you do not have to take my word for it. Here are two screenshots for you. The first is a screenshot of our our BHS (HMT) module at Psalm 23, and the second is a screenshot of our Qumran (non-biblical texts) module at column 1, line 11 of 1QS (The Community Rule).

~Drayton B.

HMT Img 1

Qumran Img

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