Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Gadget Goodies 5

One of the advantages of not being a “professional” reviewer is that, if I miss something or find out something new, I can go back without being concerned about my reputation as a reviewer being tarnished.  We’ll be doing that, today, along with the new stuff.  Once again, it’ll be a fun ride, so strap on your seatbelts and let’s get going.

I want to go back and take a second look at one of the apps that uses Cross Wire resources.  In particular, I’m talking about AndBible.  When I wrote about it in Gadget Goodies 2, I lamented about the lack of a way to easily and quickly switch between Bible and notepad on a phone.  And that may still be true for most Android phones. 

I’m not sure if I missed it before or if one of the more recent updates added the proper code.  However, AndBible now supports the multi-window mode on the Note 2.  Which means Bible and notes can be open at the same time.  For me, the benefit is a no brainer – I can have the Word and my notes going at the same time on my phone.  I don’t need to carry a hard copy Bible and notebook.  I don’t need to haul around a tablet or laptop.  I can go to church with my Note 2 and a spare battery (if needed and I started with less than 50% battery -- I like to be fully ready to take calls when not in church) and be fully prepared.

Last week, we talked about e-Sword by Rick Meyers.  It’s made for Windows and runs very nicely under Wine in linux.  There’s an Android app that my friend Jason Wiser likes which turns out to be inspired by e-Sword.  It’s called MySword.  Like AndBible, it has a good sized repository or resources.  And, also like AndBible, some of the resources aren’t likely to be easy to find on other Bible apps.  Unlike AndBible, MySword is what could be called donationware.  There are plenty of resources and options in the free version.  You won’t be disappointed.  However, you can donate through PayPal to support continued development and access those additional features and resources.

So, the next question comes down to which is my favorite.  And my answer is “Yes.”.  I have a number of Bible apps I use because of specific resources.  These are two of those.  Because of all the issues with copyright and patent infringements, there are only a few ways to do things before you either copy someone else or you reach a point of not being intuitive.  Both AndBible and MySword fit that mold – not necessarily intuitive.  Neither is that difficult to use, once mastered.  But be aware there is a learning curve to get to all the available features in either.


Before we finish, let’s switch to Windows for one of my favorite utilities.  I’m not sure about anyone else, but I‘m usually uncomfortable using a single pane file manager to move a file from one location to another.  And I’m lazy enough to not want to copy, verify the file has gotten where I sent it, then return to the original folder and delete the original.  So, I prefer a dual pane file manager.

I found my favorite two pane file manager when I was still running Win95.  The name in Czech is supposed to be something good for marketing, but it translates in English to Servant Salamander.  The explanation about the name used to be on the site, but I couldn’t find it, this last visit.  With Servant Salamander, I can open the origin folder in one pane, the destination folder in the other pane and merely move the file in one step and still be able to verify that the file went to it’s destination.  But that’s not all.  It can be used as an ftp client, a file manager over a network, display a variety of drive info for each pane, and more.

Along with all the above, it includes plug-ins to access a variety of file types, plus some integrated functions that will use system defaults.  There are three plug-ins that are extra cost – PictView, WinSCP, and their own built-in zip utility.  I use external defaults for picture viewing and archives, haven’t needed anything but Winrar and 7zip for archives, haven’t used SCP.  Assuming that SD cards are properly formatted, it recognizes them, as well.  And that’s one area where Servant Salamander gets interesting.

As mentioned, I found Servant Salamander back in the Win95 days.  I’ve continued to update it for free since my original purchase, with only a small upgrade fee to go from 1.xx to 2.xx.  All my smartphones (WM, Blackberry, and Android) have all come formatted in such a way that I only have to attach a phone to the appropriate USB cable as a connection to my PC and both the phone and the phone’s SD card will be recognized as additional drives by Servant Salamander, like any other SD card.  That’s a huge advantage in transferring files back and forth instead of having to go through all the steps to remove a card from the phone, copy files to it, then put the card back in the phone.  And, if anything has to be on a phone’s internal memory, it can be sent there without having to put the files on the SD card first and use the phone’s less than satisfying copy facility to move them to internal memory.

I’ve only barely covered what Servant Salamander can do.  And, yes, there is a downside – cost.  A single copy is $29.95 US.  The price per license goes down as the number of copies being bought increases.  There’s also a very low educational price that allows an educational institution to use copies on every pc in the institution, plus offer free copies to students, for an extremely low price (less than an individual purchasing 3 licenses).  And the educational license includes a free upgrade to the upcoming 3.0.

I wouldn’t be without Servant Salamander.  There are just too many things I can do quicker and easier with it than with any alternative options.  Which makes my own familiarity with using it a reason for my personal prejudice.  It doesn’t hurt that there always has been a version fully compatible with every version of Windows, either while I was using it or before I switched to a newer version of Windows.  So, I’d suggest downloading a trial version and giving it a real workout.  Then, when you’re as hooked on Servant Salamander as I am, you can buy a full license.  All the info and download links can be found at http://www.altap.cz/.

That’s it for this week.  There’s more tech stuff to come, next week


  1. You have so many toys mentioned here I love it! And yes I do love E-Sword. I just wish that MySword for Android had NASB download. Maybe soon.

  2. NASB seems to be a paid version on most Bible software. It is available for Biblereader and e-Sword, among others.