Posts from October 2005.

BRK Studio Blog

Ben over at BRK Studio has started a blog about his progress in developing an integrated solution for license management, purchasing and support contracts to be self hosted by ISVs.

Quite an ambitious project which a lot of Micro ISVs will be interested in, one to watch me thinks.

HelpSpot 1.0 Released

I’m a little late to the party, but I’d just like to congratulate Ian Landsman on releasing HelpSpot 1.0.

The product looks superb, great design and very well thought out feature set, as you’d expect from someone with deep knowledge of the Help Desk domain.

Well done Ian, the boy done good!

A Word Of Advice From Jeff Marder & Greg Gartner

Jeff Marder has passed on some very nice words of advice he got from Greg Gartner some time ago.

I’m feeling very humbled that his post was written in my honour.

Thank you Jeff.

Room for one more?

Phil Wright has also just handed in his notice to develop components full time, and not only that he’s off to Australia too.

Good luck Phil, hope it all goes well.

Planet MicroISV / Recent Additions To Blogroll

Just noticed that I’ve been included in the Planet MicroISV aggregated blog.


Works quite well in NetNewsWire as the feeds that I already subscribe to and and have read posts from are set as read automatically, mostly. One or two aren’t being recognized, so I probably just need to use the correct feed or something. I’ll look into that when I get a chance.

The following feeds have just made it from my “new feeds” category to their own place in my regular feed list, all going into my “Business Of Software” category:

Antonio Fontes: Antonio is trying his hand at selling blogging software, will be interesting to see how he gets on, there’s a lot of competition these days but he feels he has a niche to fill.

Ataraxis Software (Company Blog): This is a new blog from Michael Sica and his cohort Jeff Marder, they’re working together to get some software out to market as quickly as they can.

Jeff Marder: Mentioned above already, this is his personal blog.

Business On The Mac: Corey Redlien’s blog about his and other’s business software on the Mac., & Project Management Blog: Lots of thoughts on software development and marketing.

Loud Thinking: David Heinemeier Hansson is a partner in 37signals and the creator of the Rails framework for Ruby.

Mike Morris: Mike Morris has recently released RecDesk Director, and is sharing his experiences as a new MicroISV.

Outer Level: Jon Trainer of Make Mac Games has decided to spread his wings and write general software for the Mac as well as Games, he’s going to blog about it here.

Signal vs. Noise: Used to read this one but dropped it during a clean-up, but recently have seen enough good stuff coming from it that I’ve put it back on my list.

I've Quit My Job

Call me brave or call me stupid, but I’ve just told my current client that I’ll not be taking any further extensions to my contract with them.

Come December 2nd 2005 I’ll be free to work on my own software, all day every day, and boy am I excited!

Since I started thinking about and then developing CaseDetective well over a year ago now, I’ve always had to struggle with finding the time to actually get any work done on the project. When I look back upon the year, I think I’ve managed on average to maybe get 4 or 5 hours of development in per week, and that would be a good week.

Then along come people like Ian Landsman and countless others who give up there full time jobs and concentrate on their dreams, and the difference in their development speed is plain to see. Ian has been able to produce a very feature packed product and fire out betas one after the other within a week of each other, while I’ve struggled to get one release out per month, and I’m way behind where I want to be in releasing v1.0.

With time to work on my software during the day I expect to see a huge improvement in the quality and speed of design, development and marketing. I’ll have time to focus on my project(s) during the day while I’m awake, not while half asleep at 11pm after having got up at 6am, sat in traffic for an hour or so, done a long days work for someone else and then sat in traffic for another hour to get home, completely shattered before sitting down to work on CaseDetective late into the night.

Maybe now I can have a life. Maybe I’ll be a little (read as a lot) lighter in the pocket, I’m sure going to miss a contractor’s wage. But just maybe I’ll be better off mentally and physically now that I can spend my most productive hours working on something I love, and more importantly also spend much more time with the people I love with the time freed up in the evenings and weekends.

We’ve got enough money in the bank to see us through about a year of normal spending, as long as nothing major comes along to upset the balance. Hopefully by the end of next year I’ll have some income from the software I write, especially as I have a few ideas for other applications that may help bring in a little money. But if things start to get a little sticky money-wise towards the end of next year then I’ll look at a few short-term contracts, or maybe custom apps for small businesses in the area, but the plan is to concentrate solely on CaseDetective and its stable mates for the foreseeable future.

Finally, I’m going to be following my dream to be an ISV, wish me luck!

All Marketers Are Liars

Jon over at Outer Level (also of Make Mac Games) has found the joys of Seth Godin and is reading Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable.

I’m reading my first Seth Godin book at the moment too, actually I’m listening to it on my daily commute home (I listen to podcasts on the way to work).

I’ve grabbed “All Marketers Are Liars” from, it is fairly short, weighing in at only 4 hours 18 mins, but seems to be packed with good examples that reinforce it’s main message, tell stories that consumers are ready to believe, do not lie. A story is much more attractive than pure facts, appeal to the consumers “World View”.

I’m about 3 hours in now, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, I think I’ll pick another Seth Godin book for next month’s audible download, but I’ll probably re-listen to this one first to make sure I’ve got it down to pat, sometimes actually having to drive gets in the way of listening properly.

Why the UK iTunes Music Store rip-off?

A recent email reply to a friend by me on the subject of the new iMacs and iPods with video capability, with a couple of little corrections…

On Wed, October 12, 2005 22:48, Gordon Robertson wrote:
> 1. Can you load that Front Row thing on your ( living room ) iMac?

Couldn’t find the software for download last night, so I assume it’s a bundle-only thing at the moment. Maybe it comes with the remote, which you can buy individually?

> 2. When are you buying another new iPod?

Next year, when the 80Gb version comes out!

> Gotta hand it to them. They haven’t lost it. And how the hell do they manage
> to keep it under wraps so well?

It’s been a rumour for ages, and some noticed the new video icon used in the playlist panel in v5.0 and sudden lack of new music videos being posted to iTunes store, so rumours really started flying then.

The price is a little high for those videos though, in the UK anyway. In the US it’s $1.99, which ain’t bad, just twice the price of a song. But in the UK it’s £1.89, which is:

a) 2.4 times the normal UK price for a song (£0.79).

b) equivallent to $3.30 (yes, that’s 3.3 times the price of a US music purchase, not twice). Even factoring in VAT, $1.99 * 1.175 = $2.34 = £1.34 <> £1.89.

In the same vein, music should really only be £0.66 ($0.99 * 1.175 = $1.16 = £0.66).

All calcs based on today’s exchange rates of 1 USD = 0.571951 GBP or 1 GBP = 1.74840 USD.

This pisses me off, why do us UK peeps have to pay extra over and above our sales tax, it’s not like data bits have a hard time travelling over the Atlantic or anything.

It’s just not on! And that’s why I’ll not be buying any music videos or TV episodes from the UK iTunes music store, not until the price comes down to below £1.50 anyway (£1.39 would be great, but I’d live with £1.49).

I’ve bought a lot of music from iTunes, even at that rip-off £0.79 price, simply because it’s cheaper than buying a CD, which typically cost £11.99+ new. So I figure I can live without the case etc and save a couple of quid by buying the music from iTunes (albums are usually £7.99) and backing up to a cheap CD-R. I only listen to music via my iPod or computer these days anyway, so it makes sense.

But that price for videos is just too much, it’s way out of step with the USA, and I just don’t need them that much that I’ll pay that kind of money.

Maybe when we get a proper Apple “iMedia” in the shape of an Intel based Mac mini with TV tuner (although I’ve got an Elgato Eye TV which would do), Front Row software and remote for tucking under the living room TV, I might find the downloadable videos a little more interesting.

It’s early days I suppose.

REAL World 2006

This weekend I registered for REAL World 2006, so next February I’m off to Austin, Texas for a few days to learn lots of stuff about RealBasic and hang out with like-minded geeks.

Should be fun, some of the sessions already posted look very interesting, and I’m really looking forward to meeting the RB staff and other developers in the RB community.

I haven’t booked my flights and hotel yet though, mainly because the wife and I haven’t decided whether she’s coming along or not. Thought it might be nice to extend the trip a little to see the sights (and sounds) of Austin as it looks like a nice place to be for a few days. Then again, Mandy won’t see me for a good three whole days while I’m at the conference as there’s evening socials as well as daytime sessions. But apparently there’s some good shopping to be had in Austin, so Mandy says she should be able to keep herself occupied for a few days, as long as the credit card holds out! :-)

Corey Redlien has started blogging

Corey Redlien has started blogging his experiences as a developer of business software for the Mac, starting with a couple of great articles (part 1, part 2) about the just released Redlien Account Executive v1.5.

I’m going to keep a close eye on his blog, I’m sure I could learn a lot from him as he also develops in RealBasic and from the look of things knows what he’s doing. Hope he keeps his blog up to date as I’m really interested in how things progress with Redlien Account Executive, especially as he’s now using OpenBase as the backend.

Although I probably don’t have a need for Account Executive, I’m going to download the trial and give it a whirl, just to see what kind of stuff can really be done with RealBasic when it comes to what I expect is quite complex data management and UI design challenges.