Electric Prayer

The Liturgy of the Hours, the Mass, and other things.

Posts Tagged ‘Universalis’

May 2022 newsletter

Posted by universalis on 18 May 2022

Happy Eastertide!

One way and another, this is going to be rather a bookish newsletter.

New e-books are ready

Those of you who use e-books rather than apps know that each e-book lasts only for a fixed time, and when it has finished you have to get an e-book for the next period. In this way an e-book is like a printed book –  it covers only the period it is designed for, whereas an app lasts for ever.

Ready-made Liturgy of the Hours e-books are available through Amazon for the Kindle. Because of the size of the Liturgy of the Hours, the e-books cover half a year each. The current one goes from Advent 2021 to Pentecost 2022, and Pentecost is approaching rapidly. The next e-book from Amazon goes from Pentecost 2022 to just before Advent, and it is available now. You can find the catalogue here.

You can also create your own e-books for yourself, which is cheaper because you only ever need to pay once. It is also more flexible because you can choose your own local calendar and the exact Hours you want. If this is something you have been doing already, nothing has changed in the way you do it – but as a reminder, this page has the instructions.

The Mass in Close-Up

The Universalis apps and programs have a feature called “Daily Books” which lets you read a book, divided into daily slices, as part of any of the pages in Universalis. The daily slicing means that you are never tempted to read too much at once, but can focus deeply on one passage at a time and get the most out of it. You can get at the books through the File menu in the programs and through the circled-I menu in the toolbar of the apps. This page has all the details and instructions.

There is a new Daily Book out now: “The Mass in Close-Up” by Father Antony Jones, who for some 50 years was a parish priest in Wales. As his priestly ministry proceeded, Fr Antony became increasingly convinced that the more we understand the Mass, the Church’s greatest treasure, the more we will love it and benefit from it. His constant aim was to instruct his parishioners about the Mass and from the resulting talks and papers this book was born. “The Mass in Close-Up” is a detailed examination of the Mass, exploring every aspect of it, theologically, historically and spiritually. In Universalis it comes in 70 daily instalments and you can attach it to whichever page you want, although the Mass Readings page is probably the most logical choice.

The Creed in Slow Motion

The publication date in the UK is now definitely 30 June and advance copies are already going out to reviewers and the like.

The US publication date is 18 October, but I know that some of our American friends have been pre-ordering the UK edition from The Book Depository.

This page tells you all about the book and includes the final cover design.

From Wednesday 18 May the Universalis apps and programs, and the web site, will give you access to a short daily audio clip telling you about each chapter of the book. There isn’t time, in 60 seconds, to say very much, but I hope that what is said will interest and intrigue you. On the web site it is a yellow box about half way through the About Today page or at the bottom of the Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer pages. In the apps and programs the box is in the same sort of position but it is grey rather than yellow.

Try a few episodes and see if you enjoy it! And if you aren’t interested, the boxes are not too obtrusive and will disappear automatically at the end of June.

And another thing…

While you are waiting for a book by one member of the Kochanski family, another member’s book is already out! It is Resistance: the Underground War in Europe, 1939-45 by Halik Kochanski, who is my sister. It was published in March in the UK and the US publication date is 24 May. It is not family solidarity alone that makes me mention this book. It is a solid, authoritative and compassionate piece of work. Max Hastings, in the Sunday Times, calls it “The best book on the subject I have ever read.” The publisher’s page about the book is here.

App news

The Android apps now follow the iOS apps in letting you select text by holding down your finger on the screen. Handles then appear which you can use to highlight exactly the text you want to copy and paste into other apps (for instance, for emailing). The apps from Google Play already have this feature and the Amazon Appstore ones will follow soon.

Now is also a good time to remind you about another feature of the Android apps. If you are blind or are using a screen reader for some other purpose, there is a switch in the Settings screen of the Android app which makes the display more “visible” to TalkBack. The switch is labelled “Screen reader mode” and it is at the beginning of the “Advanced” section at the end of the Settings screen. A blind user asked me to mention this, and I am happy to do so. (The iOS app naturally works with VoiceOver and a separate mode is not needed).

Thank you all for using Universalis. If you have trouble or questions, or suggestions, do write to us at universalis@universalis.com or use the Contact Us button in one of the apps.

Let us all keep one another in our prayers, as always.

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March 2022 newsletter

Posted by universalis on 25 March 2022

Happy Annunciation!

That isn’t something people say. You didn’t wake up this morning expecting to hear it or planning to say it to everyone you met. Just as well, because you would be disappointed (on the one hand) and (on the other hand) come across as some kind of lunatic. But all the same it is true: the Annunciation is a great feast because it is the feast of the Incarnation. It is when our salvation started.

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February 2022 newsletter

Posted by universalis on 1 March 2022

Every year, Lent seems to arrive suddenly: almost as a surprise. This year, the benefit of a later Lent is that it is a lighter Lent (at least in the Northern Hemisphere), which reminds us that, sombre though Lent is liturgically, gloom is not really what Lent is about. Lent is about joy.

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Advent 2021 newsletter

Posted by universalis on 8 December 2021

Advent can be an embarrassing time for those of us who like to live a quiet life as “compatible Christians”, rubbing along next to our pagan neighbours with just a handful of quaint beliefs to distinguish us. Advent rather sabotages the feeling that we are just like everyone else really (or perhaps that little bit nicer).

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“Resurrection is Now”

Posted by universalis on 2 December 2021

The book Resurrection is Now, by Dom Aelred Watkin, has been the “sleeping hit” of the Daily Books feature in the Universalis apps. You, the readers, have been so enthusiastic in your response to it that there are now plans to re-publish the printed book. Limited stocks of the original edition have been discovered so that you can buy it now if you don’t want to wait. The remaining and rediscovered stocks of the first edition sold out within 24 hours of this blog post being published!

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“Journey into Light”

Posted by universalis on 2 December 2021

We are delighted to be able to announce that the recently published book Journey into Light, by Roderick Strange, is now available as a Daily Book in the Universalis apps.

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November 2021 newsletter

Posted by universalis on 12 November 2021

The newsletter is a bit long this month, because this is the time of year to be thinking about books. Advent is round the corner, so if you get the annual or semi-annual e-books of Hours and Mass readings for the Amazon Kindle or some other e-book reader, now is the time to be getting the next one. Christmas is round the corner, so if you enjoyed last year’s “New Every Day” e-book, or gave it as a present to a friend, now is the time to do something about that. We also have a new e-book available this year, just in time for Christmas.

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October 2021 newsletter

Posted by universalis on 7 October 2021

Today is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, which is as good a reason as any for sending out the October newsletter today. Thank you for subscribing, and I hope you enjoy it. This month it is mostly about the features of the Universalis apps and programs, because sometimes people forget some of them and in any case there is always something new to discover.

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August 2021 newsletter

Posted by universalis on 23 August 2021

It has been rather a quiet summer, and we have been quiet too: there was no newsletter in July. We got one or two emails expressing concern about this, but don’t worry! All is well here, as we hope it is with you.

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Android Bug

Posted by universalis on 11 August 2016

The Kindle Fire has a bug which makes all pages in the Universalis and Catholic Calendar apps blank. (We have had just two reports of non-Kindle Fire devices being affected, but it is almost always the Kindle Fire).

The apps themselves continue to work normally in every other respect: for instance, the calendar listing is still visible, and you can switch from one page to another.  It is just that the content of the pages themselves is blank.

The bug appears intermittently, on specific dates, the same date each year. It appeared in August 2013, and again in August 2014. Both times it went away after a few days. 11 August appears to be the peak day for bug reports.

We have conducted detailed research, thanks to one of the Fathers of the London Oratory who was experiencing the bug and able to lend us his Kindle Fire.

  1. Only early models are affected. Modern Kindle Fires aren’t.
  2. The bug is not in Universalis but in Android itself.
  3. The bug is triggered by viewing Morning Prayer for 11 August, the feast of St Clare.
  4. Once the bug has been triggered, the text of the page is never updated again.

How to get round it

  1. Move to an Hour other than Morning Prayer, or a date other than 11 August. You won’t see any change in the text yet, but the headings at the top of the screen will show the date and the hour.
  2. Close Universalis and shut down your device completely.
  3. Power up your device, and the problem will have gone away.

What we have done

In the latest releases of the Universalis and Catholic Calendar apps, released in September 2016, we have changed the way in which text is displayed. The main motive for doing this was to get more control of scrolling, and to lay the foundations for future plans (such as a page-turning mode as an alternative to the scrolling one). But the new display mode also avoids the defective component in Android, and the St Clare bug no longer occurs.

The new way of displaying text is turned on automatically, and you don’t have to do anything: just make sure you have the latest update of Universalis or Catholic Calendar.


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