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DailyReader Review

by Jim McCarthy
Posted 7/3/02
Originally Posted at

There are two things in my spiritual quest that I have always found to be a challenge in finding time to pursue: personal journal keeping about my spiritual walk with God and keeping up with a daily devotional reading whether in the Bible or other devotional. Laridian, creators of the popular PocketBible application, have once again blessed Pocket PC users with DailyReader, a program that will lead you a step closer to Christ and put daily devotion in the palm of your hand.

Every morning, just after getting to work and checking e-mail, I start the day with a short devotion from the "By Faith Alone" devotional with DailyReader. I read a short one-minute devotion over a donut (sometimes Doritos) and Big Gulp. I have found that since evaluating DailyReader it has helped me keep life in perspective and further understand who I am and what I believe; a real eye opener at times.

The interface is simple, yet includes some very advanced features from displaying related Bible versus in a split screen to configuring date, book behavior and fonts. An "exit" option can also be added to the "Edit" menu if desired. You will have to select "Options" under the "View" menu to add it and restart the program to enable it which I found a minor annoyance of the program because many of the typical programs that I use include an "Exit" option. However after contacting Laridian about this I came to learn that DailyReader "doesn't include Exit in the menus by default because Microsoft requires that a "logo certified" application not include Exit in any menu"; interesting I thought.

In addition, another advanced, and somewhat hard to find option in the DailyReader program is ability to install more than one devotional to the Pocket PC and toggle between. I discovered this by accident one day when I tapped the "OK" button thinking it would minimize the application. Since the behavior of the "OK" button behaved slightly different than I expected I'm considering it an advanced option that displays a listing of available 365-day devotions to open and read. Of course there's a logical explanation for this as well. According to Laridian, "that's not the way that programs are supposed to work on the Pocket PC, according to the user interface guidelines promoted by Microsoft"; I'm beginning to think that these Microsoft guidelines on design might make an interesting article in themselves.

Left, a screenshot of the "options" screen in DailyReader. This tab selected allows you to specify where the Bible is located for linking to versus found in the devotionals. Right, a screenshot of the "options" screen where you can specify the font type and size as well as if ClearType should be used.

The features that most people will want to use are very intuitive and visibly present on the toolbar from selecting a specific day, turning pages, displaying only the devotional (full screen), only the bible (full screen) or both in a split screen view (my favorite). So if you're to install DailyReader and a 365-day devotional you could easily jump right into the program and not have to worry about changing one option unless your device crashed or the program was deleted.

If this case was the case DailyReader also has a few features that allow you to manipulate where the "day" begins so that as the program tracks what you have or have not read. This is because each devotional contains 365 devotions; one for each day of the year. Each time you read one there's a checkbox above the devotion to indicate you have completed the reading. In order to keep everything relational to the current date, meaning the proper number of devotions read and not read are synced you will need to do some manually adjustment. One of the adjustments is ability to set the "Start Date". I have to admit that I have used this feature many times after months of reading and then I experiencing some form of data loss that eradicates my DailyReader effectively making DailyReader forget when I started that devotional. Well as long as you remember when you started you simply set the "Start Date" manually. However, we're all human and have more things to do than we have time to do them so you might also find yourself getting behind in your daily reading, perhaps months behind. Rather than reading 60 devotions at once you can cheat a little by selecting the "Catch Up" option which simply moves the next unread devotion (60 days ago) to the current date. If all else fails DailyReader also includes a "Start Over" option too.

Despite that it's not obvious to read more than one devotional at different times it's a feature that really makes DailyReader a valuable companion to me. This is because is the morning I can use it to read a devotional for my own personal growth with Christ and in the evening load a different devotional, "Experiencing God", and read it together with my wife before we retire for the day making the DailyReader an essential application on my Pocket PC.

Price: $12.99 (Devotionals are approximately $9.99/each)

- Install and read more than one devotional.
- ClearType supported, as well as font control from type to size.
- Star Over, Change Start Date and Catch Up supported.
- Split screen to display reading and Bible versus (if Bible present).
- Copy versus and reading directly to clipboard.

- No "Open..." included in the Edit menu.
- "Exit" option in Edit menu considered an "Advanced" option only to be selected if recommended by technical support.
- Not enough variety of devotional series. I would like to see some marriage and family oriented devotionals become available.

What I Would Like To See In A Future Version:
- A Today Screen plug-in that displays the title of the current days reading with options to also display the last day a devotion was read, and perhaps a random Bible verse (either the whole verse or just the verse such as GEN 4:12-16).
- Include "Open..." icon in toolbar.

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