Mobile Digital Scriptures

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Rowskey-p40
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Mobile Digital Scriptures

Postby Rowskey-p40 » Sat Dec 20, 2008 4:56 pm

I'm sure at least some of us have read the standard works on a computer or laptop, even a Palm handheld device. Most of these are limited, difficult to use, or hard to read, or have some other negative that keeps them from being too widespread.
I have been inspired by recent technology to start this thread, dedicated to digital scriptures on the go.

First I want to highlight one of the most promising new technologies for the future of digital scripture reading. The technology is called E-Ink and is currently being used in a variety of products - most notible digital books. This technology allows text to be displayed on a paper looking surface without drawing electricity. Devices such as Sony's Reader and Amazon's Kindle only use battery power when turning to the next page, otherwise these conveniently sized thin devices aren't drawing power while you are reading. This kind of technology is extremely versitle and convenient, enough so to become popularly widespread in a matter of years. Even so, $300 - $500 is still a lot to pay doing little else than reading a book ... well thousands of books in one place anyway. That said, a currently even more convenient access to digital scriptures in your pocket is the obvious - cell phones.

Cell phones with large displays and touchscreens are becoming increasingly common as they drop in price due to competition, one in particular is the new T-Mobile G1. This phone is unique in that it uses Google's new open source operating system called Android. An operating system (like Windows or Mac OS) is a master control program that defines how programs are run on a computerized device. To be open source, a program must be available in its coded base form to anyone who might desire to view it or make fundamental changes to the way it works. In the Android's case, many computer programmers of all skill ranges are able to design software programs like a voice recorder, or movie player ... or in this case an easy way to read the standard works.

Unlike most software you download or buy for a computer, Android apps (as they are called) are usually updated very frequently - dependant only on the creator's wish to make his program better. In the case of the Android app called simply "Scriptures", you are first given a menu of choices including Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. Touching the screen on each of those headings will then bring up a list of books, then chapters, and finally verses that can be scrolled through. Simple gestures like flicking your finger to the left, as if pulling the page over, will change to the next chapter. The ability to increase the size of the text on the screen is helpful for those of us who tire of squinting at small writing on an already small screen.

The Scriptures app was created by David Mitchell, who is currently working on making the program even better by adding things like bookmarks. Owners of the T-Mobile G1 only need to visit the Market on their phone and search for the app. Information about the program and future updates can be found here: http://blog.digitalbias.com/?page_id=87 If you do not have nor do you plan to buy a G1, worry not, cell phone makers such as Samsung, Motorola, and Nokia have plans for their own Google Android powered phones due out as early as this summer. In summary, the future of mobile digital scriptures is very close at hand and promises more convenience and compatibility than ever before. I urge all LDS to support mobile scriptures in all forms in order to spur further innovation.

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mkmurray
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Postby mkmurray » Sat Dec 20, 2008 7:46 pm

Rowskey wrote:In summary, the future of mobile digital scriptures is very close at hand...

If you search around these forums a little more, you will find that iPhone Scripture applications are a little bit farther ahead. I agree that support of these efforts is beneficial to all of us.

Josiah-p40
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Sounds like YanCEyWare

Postby Josiah-p40 » Sun Dec 21, 2008 4:52 pm

Not to dampen the excitement that I share with where mobile computing is going - but I've been enjoying these features on YanCEyWare(Windows Mobile) for 5+ years.

If someone wanted to port YanCEyWare Reader (or just make their .ybk books readable) for the iPhone/Android, that would really make my day. All the content is already there - I just can't make the transition from my Pocket PC to my iPhone with it because the reader is for Windows Mobile. :(

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opee
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Postby opee » Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:31 am

Josiah wrote:If someone wanted to port YanCEyWare Reader (or just make their .ybk books readable) for the iPhone/Android, that would really make my day.


And the Blackberry...

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Postby lfalin-p40 » Sun Dec 28, 2008 10:14 pm

If someone wanted to port YanCEyWare Reader (or just make their .ybk books readable) for the iPhone/Android, that would really make my day. All the content is already there - I just can't make the transition from my Pocket PC to my iPhone with it because the reader is for Windows Mobile.


As the developer behind the free iPhone Scriptures application, I can tell you that one of the things I would really like to do is provide additional Gospel content in the application. Unfortunately my hands are tied in this because of copyright issues.

I have contacted the Church's copyright office multiple times on this issue but have yet to receive a definitive answer one way or the other. The closest I have gotten was this response four months ago:

"At the present, guidelines for the use of Church materials on iPhones is being determined; therefore we are not able to grant permission for such uses"

Until the Church decides on this issue, there is really nothing that can legally be done in terms of adding this content to the iPhone. (And I suspect other new devices such as Android phones).

If someone knows someone that I could talk with about this, that would be helpful. I know that the Church has to be careful about protecting their intellectual property rights, but there is certainly a precedent for this with Palm and Windows Mobile devices.

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Postby russellhltn » Sun Dec 28, 2008 11:47 pm

lfalin wrote:As the developer behind the free iPhone Scriptures application, I can tell you that one of the things I would really like to do is provide additional Gospel content in the application. Unfortunately my hands are tied in this because of copyright issues.


I think the way one provider has worked around it - is rather then distribute the scriptures, they distribute software that allows the end user to pull the data from the website and load it into their application. That way it's not you (as a company) that's doing it, but the end users in the scope of "fair use" for personal use.
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Postby Mikerowaved » Mon Dec 29, 2008 12:37 am

Others have a direct agreement with the church to convert certain LDS publications into their own format and make it freely available, for example YanCEyWare. (They are pretty fast at converting all the latest releases too!) When asked about a decompiler for their book format, the answer was their copyright agreement with the church wouldn't allow it.

I understand artwork found in church magazines, manuals, covers, etc. is more difficult to get permission to redistribute than text, but I'm not close to being learned in this area.
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RossEvans
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Postby RossEvans » Mon Dec 29, 2008 7:54 am

There is a free app for the Android called Scriptures from digitalbias.com, which can be downloaded to the phone device using its standard Market app, as Rowskey noted. For its content, Scriptures uses files from the Mormon Documentation Projectsaid to be in the public domain.

KGBurton
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YanceyWare already has an alpha for Android

Postby KGBurton » Fri Jan 02, 2009 3:40 pm

FYI - it is on the way.

Josiah wrote:Not to dampen the excitement that I share with where mobile computing is going - but I've been enjoying these features on YanCEyWare(Windows Mobile) for 5+ years.

If someone wanted to port YanCEyWare Reader (or just make their .ybk books readable) for the iPhone/Android, that would really make my day. All the content is already there - I just can't make the transition from my Pocket PC to my iPhone with it because the reader is for Windows Mobile. :(

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Mikerowaved
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Postby Mikerowaved » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:14 pm

There's a youtube video showing an Alpha release of "REVEL", which is a new Yanceyware YBK compatible Ebook reader for the Android platform. You can view it here...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MY33SOsqe5E
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