Bible Programs Review
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The programs are:
The twelve categories are:
- Speed: How fast is starting the program and switching to a different passage or translation?
- Navigation: How easy is it to get from one passage to another?
- Find/Search: How easy and fast is finding a word or phrase?
- Bookmarks: Can I mark a favorite verse so I can quick come back to it?
- User Marks: Can I highlight words/passage and add my own notes?
- Translations: What translations are available?
- Study Tools: What other study tools beside the Bible are available?
- Languages: Is the program available in other languages?
- Memory Card: Does the program support storing Bibles on a memory card?
- Extras: Are there any extra features or functions?
- Support: How does the publisher respond to problems? How do I get the latest version?
- Cost: Is it reasonably priced?
by Pat Double, version 1.2.3
Loading the program is relatively quick, but switching to and from the commentaries and dictionary can be slow.
Tapping on the reference at the top or choosing "Goto Verse" from the Tools menu brings up the Go To Verse window. Selecting the desired book from the list is straight forward, however, selecting the chapter and verse is awkward. The chapter and verse are changeable with the arrows next to them or using the keypads. The keypad on the left is used to select the tens place digit and the right keypad for the ones place digit. The keypads are inconsistent making it even more awkward. The left keypad starts at the top and goes down. The right keypad starts at the bottom and goes to the right (as the number pad on a keyboard does).
Fortunately there are the arrows in the top right corner of the main screen. They function like the back and forward buttons on a web browser. They move the text back and forth between passages that have viewed.
With the preference "Start verse on new line" deselected, the program displays the verse starting on the second or third line of the verse. With the preference selected, the program displays the beginning of the verse.
|There is no option to limit the search to a specific range of books so BibleThumper searches the entire Bible every time. If the search is for a word which has limited use, like Barnabas, searches take 3 to 5 seconds. But if the word is used throughout Scripture, like Jerusalem, searches take 15 to 30 seconds. Searches for two or more words are even slower.|
In addition, the Concordance must be installed or searches are painfully slow, taking more than 10 minutes. The Concordance, which is included, requires an additional 841k of memory.
|The bookmark feature is well developed. It takes full advantage of categories and allows for text to added to each bookmark. I can add up to 254 characters in each bookmark. That should give most people more than they need to jot down a thought or idea for a verse. My only complaint is the icon for bookmarks while viewing the Bible adds a bookmark instead of displaying the bookmarks. Since I view bookmarks more than I add them, an icon that just displayed the bookmarks would be more useful.|
User Marks: 5
Tapping on the pencil on paper icon at the top of the screen allows me to add a note to the verse. Doing this will add a note to the verse at the top of the screen. Tapping on a verse number brings up a dialog box with several options, including the option to add a note. BibleThumper files these notes with the commentaries so notes are labeled as 'Personal'. Once the note is added, a red note icon appears after the verse number.
King James Version 1769 edition is only translation available and the only translation the developer will make available. Click here to read the developer's comments.
Study Tools: 9
|Tapping on the note icon next to the verse number will display the commentaries entry for that verse.
Strong's numbers and the Hebrew and Greek Lexicons are available. The three dictionaries available are the KJV dictionary which explains the means of the harder to understand words used in that translation, and the 1828 and 1913 Webster's dictionaries, which I found less than helpful. There are eleven commentaries available, including the Matthew Henry Concise Commentary, Jamieson Fausset Brown Commentary, and Gill's Exposition Commentary. The developer has stated that if a commentary is in electronic format and in the public domain, to contact him because he is open to including it. Click here to see the full list.|
The German Luther 1912 Bible is available as well as two German commentaries. The translation for any other language must be based on the Textus Receiptus for the developer to make it available. Click here to read the developer's comments. The program, however, is only available in English.
Memory Card: 8
BibleThumper supports expansion slots, so translations and commentaries can be stored on a memory card. There is an additional lag, but it's not too terrible.
When viewing installed commentaries, there are two additional features I like. First, I can add my own personal note for the verse. Second, I can lock the current commentary in place by tapping on the lock icon at the top of the screen so I can view other verses as a cross reference and not loss my spot in the commentary or my personal note.
The online manual, which is also downloadable, has a FAQ section (Frequently Asked Questions) which answers some basic questions. And the developer is fairly quick to respond to questions or requests. Registered users can download the latest version from here with the login and password that was sent when BibleThumper was purchased.
The cost for the program is $25. All texts are in the Public Domain so they are free.
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| by SkimWare, version 3.0
MarkMyScriptures loads the Old Testament and New Testament documents very fast thanks to a pre-indexed text file for each document.
To select a passage, I need to select the document, book, chapter, and verse by using the D, B, C, V in the top right of the screen. Fortunately the program steps you through the process quickly. Since the Old and New Testaments are in different documents, that is the first choice. Then the list of books is displayed followed by the list of chapters and list of verses. If the passage is a different chapter in the same book, I can select with "Choose Chapter" from the Navigate menu or the "C" in the upper right. The program also keeps a history of the last 10 passages visited which can be accessed by tapping on the down arrow in the upper right.
|Searching is slow. The search is limited to the current document, it can't search the Old and New Testament at the same time. The search can't be limited to a specific range of books, but it will search from the current point unless the option to search from the beginning is selected. The search displays the next exact occurrence of the word or words. Searching for "Jesus Jerusalem" will find nothing, "Jesus went up to Jerusalem" will find John 2:13 and then John 5:1. So searching for a specific passage can be very time consuming.|
The bookmarks has the ability to name the bookmark anything, the verse reference, a topic, etc. A unique feature is being able to 'reposition' the bookmark. I can change which verse the bookmark jumps to. A downside to MarkMyScripture's bookmarks is the bookmarks are listed in the order they were created and there is no way to rearrange the bookmarks.
User Marks: 9
MarkMyScriptures has notes that can be added directly in the text. The note shows up as a small icon next to the selected word. True to the name, I can mark the Bible with underlining and highlighting.
MarkMyScriptures has a more advanced note feature called Topics. Under each topic, I can add a note or a reference. It's a very easy way to organize thoughts and Scripture. I commend the developer for adding such a well thought out tool.
Since the developer is Mormon (you can read more about Mormonism here), the only Bible available from the developer is the King James Version. The developer has stated that he will only provide works in the public domain. There is a program called MakeMyScriptures that allows someone to create MarkMyScripture files from text documents, although depending on what's being converted, that could be a copyright infringement. Click here to read the developer's FAQ.
Study Tools: 1
There are no study tools or commentaries available for MarkMyScripture.
MarkMyScriptures is only available in English.
Memory Card: 8
MarkMyScriptures supports expansion slots, so translations can be stored on a memory card. There is a small wait time, but it's not too bad.
MarkMyScriptures also has an auto scroll feature that can be used for reading without having to manually scrolling. The scrolling speed is fully adjustable.
There is a good FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) on the web site. The instructions included in the zip file with MarkMyScriptures is in the MarkMyScriptures format, I wish that it came as text or html file. To get the latest version, download it and install it onto the device and the registration information will be applied to the new version.
The program costs $17.50 and all the documents are free since they are public domain.
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| by QuickVerse, version 1.0
There is a delay when loading a Bible or book that is in the internal memory. There is also a lag as I move from book to book and chapter to chapter. If the Bible or book is on a memory card, there is a long delay to load it, about 13-15 seconds, and an very long lag moving from book to book and chapter to chapter. Even on my Palm Tungsten T, which is very fast compared to older devices, loading an item from a memory card is slow, about 6-7 seconds.
QuickVerse PDA offers a variety of moving around. The first is the 'Library'. The Library lists all currently installed Bibles and books. Selecting a Bible or book and then tapping on 'Contents', brings up a hierarchical list of the contents. Moving around this way works the best books. If I select 'Library' and change my mind, tapping the current book sends me to Genesis 1:1 instead of where I was. Instead the best thing to do is tap on 'Contents' and then tap on 'Cancel'.
There is also the 'VerseFinder'. Selecting VerseFinder from the menu bar or tapping on the current reference in the upper right brings up a table with all the books of the Bible. Tapping on a book name brings up the table with all the chapters in that book. Tapping on a chapter brings up all the verses in that chapter. Tapping on the verse, brings up the passage. A quirk in the program, if 'Break up verses' is uncheck in Preferences, tapping on 'Go' after selecting a Book name, move to the second verse of the chapter instead of the first. Also, at the top of the screen are some arrows. The double arrows moves to the previous/next verse and the single arrows moves to the previous/next book.
Another very nice feature is 'Linking'. When a word is double tapped, a pop-up menu appears with two choices. The first is 'Find Next' which will find the next occurence of the selected word. The second choice is the QuickVerse Bible Dictionary, assuming it's installed and the word is in the dictionary. When a verse reference is tapped once, a pop-up menu appears with two sections. The first section contains the options to bookmark the selected verse and copy or beam the verse. A copied verse can then be pasted into any other program. A beamed verse becomes a memopad entry in the receiving device. The second section lists other installed translations and commentaries in which I can view the selected verse. After selecting a different book, a small arrow appears in the top menu bar to return to the previous book.
There are a few problems with 'Linking'. When 'Break up verses' is not selected in Preferences, the pop-up menus do not work right, only 'Find Next' appears and it doesn't find the next occurence, QuickVerse PDA starts looking at the beginning of the loaded chapter and won't search beyond it. This is disappointing since not having the verses broken up is easier to read. 'Linking' also suffers from the slowness of QuickVerse PDA. If I move to a Bible or book on a memory card, the wait is least 15-17 seconds on most devices. On my Tungsten T, I have to wait about 7-8 seconds. I like the idea of linking and the pop-up menus are very convenient, but the bugs need to be fixed.
There are a few options for searching. The search can be limited to current chapter or book or to the Old or New Testament. In a multiple word search, QuickVerse can find all words or any words. There is no exact phrase or wild characters. So a search for 'love' will only find love, not loves, loved, etc. The search results are displayed by going to the next occurence of the word(s), so searching can be time consuming. One quirk of searching for multiple words is only one word is highlighted even though it will find both words.
Adding a bookmark can be done several ways. Tapping on the verse number displays the pop-up menu and the first item in the menu is 'Bookmark'. Tapping on the book icon at the top of the screen will display the bookmark menu. The first item in the menu is 'Bookmark' which will display a list of all the verses on the screen that can be bookmarked. Below 'Bookmark' are the current bookmarks and below that is 'Edit Bookmarks'. When a bookmark is added, I can select a category, a title, and write some notes. The title, the reference is automatically entered, is what's displayed in the Bookmark menu and in the Edit Bookmark window. Although the notes with the bookmark is nice, the only way to view the note is through the Edit Bookmark window.
User Marks: 1
QuickVerse PDA does not support highlighting or user notes.
There are twelve translations currently available, the NLT, KJV, RSV, ASV, NAS, NRSV, NRSV with Apocrypha, RSV, Darby's New Translation, God's Word, Young's Literal Translation, and International Children's Bible-New Century Version. QuickVerse available in two configurations, Standard and Deluxe. The Standard configuration contains the NLT, the KJV, Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary, QuickVerse Bible Dictionary, Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, and Ten Daily Reading Plans. The Deluxe configuration contains all of the Standard books except Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, and also includes the RSV, the ASV, and My Utmost For His Highest. After buying one of these configurations, the other translations can be added separately. The list of currently available translations is on the QuickVerse PDA Book List. There are other translations and books listed, but not available yet.
Study Tools: 8
The KJV and the NAS are each available with Strong's Number. Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary, QuickVerse Bible Dictionary, Spurgeon's Morning and Evening or My Utmost For His Highest come with QuickVerse PDA. Once all the other books listed on the QuickVerse PDA Book List become available, QuickVerse PDA will have the one of the biggest libraries available for the Palm OS.
QuickVerse PDA is only available in English.
Memory Card: 3
Storing Bibles on a memory card is supported. There is a long delay, up to 15 seconds, to load a Bible or book when it is on a memory card. Moving from passage to passage has a long lag as well. With multiple translations and numerous study tools, using a memory card is a must, so it's frustrating to wait so long. Plus there is no indication that anything is happening while QuickVerse PDA is loading a different book or Bible. What can be more frustrating is if the screen is tapped while it's loading, once QuickVerse PDA is done, it will respond to any and all taps. So if I tap too many times while trying to figure out if QuickVerse PDA is doing anything, I may end up moving to a different book or chapter, creating a bookmark, etc. adding more time to get where I want. The slowness and lack of any indication when loading make using a memory card almost impractical in most situations.
Another major problem is QuickVerse decided not to follow Palm's guidelines for storing items on a memory card. Instead of storing items in the usual spot on a memory card (for those who are interested, /Palm/Launcher or /Palm/Programs), QuickVerse stores items in it's own folder (/QVDocs) and will only look there. This means that I have to install Bibles and books first to the internal memory on my device and then use QuickVerse PDA to move the Bible or book to the card. I cannot use the standard Install Tool and select the memory card as the destination, QuickVerse PDA will not know the Bible or book is there. That is too much of a hassle and may mean HotSyncing multiple times if there isn't enough empty space on the device. Of course there are other ways to get the Bible or book to the right folder, but I shouldn't have to use them.
The use of pop-up menus to access those books is a welcome addition. Another extra is the Daily Reading feature. There are 10 plans or schedules to choose from. The plans are customizable. I can change the duration, the start date, which days I want to read, and which books I want to read (Matthew through John for example). After I have selected and configured my plan, I can read today's reading by selecting 'Daily Reading...' under 'Plan' on the menu bar. A calendar with the days I have and haven't read displayed so I can see my progress. The Daily Reading only works with the Bible, My Utmost for His Highest cannot be selected for example. There are a few bugs in the Daily Reading feature when used on a OS 5 device, most occurring when a plan is not selected.
The tech support I've received from Findex is probably some of the worst I've ever had to deal with. First, I tried to call them, but I was put on hold for more than a half hour till I finally gave up. Getting a response via email generally takes 1 to 2 weeks. Then the answer I got was to tell me to do the steps I had explained to them that I had already done. After two more emails and more than a month later, they finally told me that they didn't know
Mac users and everyone else who doesn't use a Windows computer: QuickVerse only provides a Windows .exe program to install QuickVerse PDA. After numerous emails, I finally found the right person to help resolve the lack of support for other platforms. Contact us and we'll give you the information to get a zip file. You will need a program like StuffIt Expander which has come preinstalled on Mac OS computers for a few years, but you can download the latest version here for free.
The Access Code to download QuickVerse PDA, which is sent to the buyer after purchasing QuickVerse PDA, can only be used once. If the buyer needs to download it again, he/she needs to contact customer service, which is kind of a hassle. Buyers are not noticifed of any updates or upgrades. When I asked about getting an update, a week later I was told they had no record of me owning the product. After sending their own confirmation emails, several weeks later, The bottom line, if you think you may ever need to contact tech support for an upgrade or problem, be prepared to wait a long time to get a response or purcase a different Bible program.
The Standard version is $30 and the Deluxe version is $40. The other translations range in price from $9.95 to $24.95
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