Apr 24, 2012

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Olive Tree's Bible Reader for iPhone and iPad

Earlier this month, I wrote The Best Bible App for iPhone and iPad...by Far, explaining that I had found in Olive Tree's BibleReader, a really powerful Bible study tool. I've been using it consistently for about three weeks so far and have some tips to share.

Apr 17, 2012

The Gamification of Fitness, on the iPhone

Since this is Practical iStuff, I don't really talk about games much. However, the concept of gamification, applying gaming techniques for real-world uses, is an interesting one. Using gaming motivators like accumulating points, earning achievements, and "leveling up" are greatly practical when applied to things like fitness. If you are like me, a person for whom exercise can be a tedious, er..."exercise", any additional motivation is good.

I was looking for a workout tracker for my iPhone that worked well for weight-lifting and tried several before discovering Fitocracy, an app that advertises itself as a "fitness social network. I have yet to tap into it's social potential, mostly because no one I know is on it yet, but I have been using it's game-like aspects as a motivator. Scoring points, leveling up, and completing quests help me want to do more. If nothing else, it encourages me to take the time to track my exercises.

Apr 10, 2012

The Best Bible for iPhone and iPad...By Far

I've had three Bible apps on my iPhone for quite a while: YouVersion, ESV Bible, and The Blue Letter Bible.  All have had their strengths. YouVersion is great for Bible reading plans and I still use it for that. ESV Bible had page navigation, opting for scrolling instead of a book-like page turning. (I prefer the scrolling for passage placement.) The Blue Letter Bible had a lot of resources like commentaries but was a less satisfying user experience, where the screen controls would never get out of the way of reading.

Although these were all good, they still lacked something. If I was going to a Bible on an iOS device, I needed one that worked really well for serious Study, with better ways of marking up passages and taking notes. The others I had used only allowed me to highlight or make notes on a verse at a time, not part of a verse.

I found one by accident in Olive Tree's BibleReader. I knew of it but had looked at the prices of Bibles for it and found them to be expensive. When they put the ESV Bible (the actual Bible version, not to be confused with the app) on sale for free for Easter, I downloaded it and tried it.  I was immediately impressed.