Archive for year 2009

New Book Formatter

Hi everyone! I am the newest of the newbies (at least for a little while) here at Olive Tree. My name is Steven. My duties here at Olive Tree are primarily going to be in book formatting. I’m still learning the ropes, but I am excited about the opportunities here.

My education is in the Biblical Studies field. I have a Master’s of Theology in New Testament Biblical Studies from the University of Edinburgh in good ‘ol Scotland. Though I grew up the Southeast (no I don’t really have a cool accent – sorry to disappoint), I made my way out to Spokane shortly after returning from Scotland. I had been working for a marketing firm doing systems administration before finding Olive Tree’s posting.

One of the biggest “draws” for me was Olive Tree’s work with original languages. I really enjoyed learning Greek in school and even teach a Greek class now. So the opportunity to jump in and help in the original language projects here seem like they will be right up my alley. I look forward to working with this great team to produce quality original language tools.


BibleReader and iPhone 3.0

Many iPhone users have already heard that Apple plans to release the iPhone OS 3.0 software update tomorrow, June 17.  And those who haven’t will learn about it when they connect their iPhone to their computer tomorrow, and iTunes pops up the window that asks “A new version is available . . . would you like to download it now?”

Many Olive Tree customers will be able to use BibleReader on iPhone OS 3.0 without any problems, but depending on which BibleReader features you use regularly, you may encounter some technical difficulties.  We’ve discovered two BibleReader bugs that users may experience in iPhone OS 3.0:

Split screen.  If you activate the split screen function, BibleReader may begin to run extremely slowly.

How to avoid this bug:

  1. Don’t slide the split screen slider up.   Read using full screen only.
  2. Turn split screen off, using the following commands:  Information > Settings > Split Window Settings > Split Window Slider Position > Turn off the split screen slider.

Table of Contents.   If you try to go to a new chapter or section using the “Table of Contents” menu, BibleReader may crash.

How to avoid this bug:

  1. Navigate using the Verse Chooser.
  2. Navigate manually by scrolling down or up.

We have already submitted an updated version of BibleReader to Apple, but as of today, Apple has not yet approved it for sale.  Look for the corrected version, BibleReader 4.07 (or 4.08 Amplified Bible for BibleReader), which fixes both bugs above.  As soon as Apple approves it, you can download it to resume a fully-functional Bible reading experience.

New Features for Olive Tree Books

Two exciting resources are now available at Olive Tree: John Piper’s Sermons (1200+ of them!) and the New Living Translation Study Bible. Having had the pleasure of working these from start to finish, I just wanted to share the best parts with all of you. Beyond the content and quality inherent in each product, we’ve done some different things in the creation of the electronic form that we simply must highlight.

The NLT Study Bible has several firsts for Olive Tree.

a.  First Bible with a Table of Contents! The entries follow the outline in the paper book, complete with book-sections and story headings.

b.  First Study Bible with links to its Study Notes! This is due to the fact we’ve always used the standard Bible bundled with the notes.

c.  First link with an icon! The icon doesn’t distract the eye from reading, while still enabling easy navigation to the notes.

d.  First resource with a Verse Chooser, Table of Contents, and a Dictionary.

The traditional Table of Contents has items in the order they appear in the book. We’re now able to build a Table of Contents that can also function much like an index.

a.  For John Piper’s Sermons, we wanted to allow you to browse the sermons by date, by title, etc. In the past, we could have sorted the sermons in any order and then created the table of contents, but that would leave the other browsing methods jumbled. We enhanced our format to allow the table of contents to point to anywhere in the text.

b.  For the NLT Study Bible, we wanted to give you an easy way to access the maps, charts, in-text articles, etc. Like the sermons, they are out of order, but the table of contents still works.

Adam H., book formatter

Welcoming a New Programmer

Keith, the newest addition to the development team at Olive Tree Bible Software, is onboard and working hard to bring you an updated Symbian reader. We know this is going to be great news for the many, many people who have written us about wanting to get a BibleReader program on their Nokia 5800s.

Keith is an experienced programmer, having begun back in 1986 as a Programmer/Systems Analyst for the Boeing Fabrication Divisions Tooling System, and later serving as a SME (Subject Matter Expert) for Boeing Computer Services in the C and C++ programming languages.

Keith’s passion for Bible study and programming came together in 1995 when he began work as a C++ programmer for the BibleSoft product, an early and groundbreaking PC software program that targeted the Biblical academic community. Keith worked with BibleSoft over a 10-year period, alternating his programming duties for BibleSoft with his service as a missionary to Papua New Guinea, where Keith and his wife pioneered a Bible School in addition to doing evangelism and medical outreach while serving in the field. 

Keith and his wife returned from the mission field to live in the Spokane area. With BibleSoft winding down its business, Keith was ready for his next software project. His experience with programming made him a great hire for any company, and he spent some time working for a local game development company. But his passion for Bible software would eventually lead him to Olive Tree. What more perfect combination of events could there be than a mobile device Bible software company needing a programmer in Spokane, and a Bible software programmer just happening to move there?

“I’m excited about getting back into Bible software development for Olive Tree.” explains Keith. “We are rapidly moving ahead into new technologies in the mobile industry such as Symbian and Google Android. I will be working on the Symbian S60 platform which covers over 45 percent of the world market in mobile OS. Lord willing, the years I have spent in Bible study, Bible Software development, and missions work will help me better serve our customers by making the Word of God both come ‘Alive’ and be close to them.”

Please welcome Keith to Olive Tree, and look for more additions to the team in the weeks and months ahead as we continue to present quality tools for Bible reading and study. As a fitting close to this blog post, Keith quotes Deuteronomy 6:6-9: 

6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” 




How eBibleReading is Different From eBook Reading

Rumors abound about the new Kindle® devices that will be released soon.  Some Olive Tree users have been wondering: What makes BibleReader different from Kindle, or from other eBook readers?

The main difference is that BibleReader is tailored to the experience of reading and studying the Bible.  BibleReader is Bible-centric technology.  In contrast, reviewers have pointed out that Kindle is “dominated by the book metaphor.”  Kindle reads and handles almost exactly like a book (and not like a magazine, reference work, newspaper, or website).  If all you read is fiction, or linear non-fiction—books where you start on page one and read, page by page, straight through to the end, the way you’d read a novel—then Kindle and other traditional eBook readers may work well for you.

But as anyone who has done any Bible reading or study can tell you, that’s not the way most people interact with their Bibles. Certainly, reading the Bible from cover to cover is a valuable practice, and if you’ve never done it, you should try it at least once. But for many people, daily Bible reading and study takes place in primarily non-linear ways.

And that’s where the specialized features and usability of BibleReader come into play.

  • Say you want to open your Bible to a specific place—not just the third chapter of the book of John, but John 3:16 exactly. BibleReader’s Verse Chooser lets you navigate quickly to any verse in the Bible.
  • Suppose you wonder how the word “spirit” is used throughout the Bible. BibleReader’s search function lets you look up every occurrence of the word “spirit” in both the Old and New Testaments. And when you scroll through the search results, it takes just one click to open the Bible of your choice to that verse.
  • What if you’re reading Nehemiah, and you need more historical background on the Temple and its importance in Jewish culture to really understand what’s going on in the story? BibleReader’s versified commentaries let you switch to the commentary of your choice that opens right to Nehemiah, or wherever you were reading in your Bible.
  • BibleReader’s split-screen reading makes commentary or other Bible reference works instantly available as you read—the two screens are linked so your commentary is always open to the right verse. Or you can use split screens to read two different Bible translations side-by-side.
  • Many Bibles have additional information like textual notes, cross-references, or Strong’s numbers. BibleReader includes hyperlinked notes that are available with one touch.
  • If you make a personal note on a specific verse in the Bible, you can access these notes in any Bible version, tied to the same verse.

While you might not need any of these functions while reading an eBook, reading the Bible is a different story. BibleReader was created with the unique experience of Bible reading in mind, and its features are designed to let you get the most out of your Bible reading and study.

Meet us at the Christian Book Expo (Dallas, TX)

The Christian Book Expo is this weekend!  If you live in or near the Dallas, TX area, stop by the Christian Book Expo and visit Olive Tree at Booth #420.

BibleReader for iPhone now has split screen features.  Come see it in action!  You can also see a short video here on split screens on iPhone.
iPhone Split Screen

Olive Tree Bible Software, Booth #420
Christian Book Expo, Dallas, TX, March 19-21, 2009
sponsored by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association
follow Olive Tree’s Twitter postings of the Book Expo at

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