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Posts Tagged ‘software’

August 2014 ASPects Online Now in the Library

August 1st, 2014

, Editor, ASPects

The August ASPects is in the new ASP library now, in our new ASP forums, which are responsive, mobile-enabled, and SSL-secured. Al Harberg has written about gaining incremental sales and benefiting from competition. Gianfranco Berardi has a book review, of Tracy Fullerton’s Game Design Workshop. These articles are available exclusively for the members of the Association of Software Professionals.


ASPects, August 2014
August 2014, Volume 27, No. 8, Issue #289 (282 Kb)

Introducing the ASP’s Library
by Jerry Stern
Our new myBB discussion forum, at https://www.asp-software.org/mybb has a new forum section, ‘Library’, which will hold all of our online reference materials, historical information, and reference guides. Direct links now work from our forums to the Library. (page 1)

Trade Show Calendar
(page 2)

ASP News
MSDN Free Books Event, 2014 ASP Financial Report Online
(page 3)

The Joys of Competition
by Al Harberg
Before the Internet, a well-capitalized company with a well-known brand name could keep most tiny start-ups from becoming competitive threats. Today, however, small independent software vendors (microISVs) can compete effectively with the largest software developers. Here are some ideas about dealing with your software competitors…. (page 3)

Book Review: Game Design Workshop
by Gianfranco Berardi
Tracy Fullerton teaches game design with a “playcentric approach”. What is a playcentric approach? She describes it as an iterative design process with player experience goals. Her
book, Game Design Workshop, 3rd Edition, teaches the reader how games work, demonstrates how to design a new game through prototypes and playtesting, and finally explains how the game designer role fits into the larger industry…. (page 5)

Moving the Sales Needle
by Al Harberg
To succeed in business, all you need is a steady series of small, incremental changes to your products and services… (page 6)

ASP Member News
Bits & Coffee releases BatchPhoto 4.0
FlashPeak Inc, announces Slimjet Browser
DataNumer’s Outlook Repair v. 5.1 (page 8 )

News & Press Corner
Department of Justice Provides Update on GameOver Zeus and Cryptolocker Disruption (page 8 )

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Profile: David Hyde

November 15th, 2011

The Association of Software Professionals started out back in 1987. Our members invented try-before-you-buy, and changed how software is sold. Now, we have everyone from app builders to web developers benefiting from our private newsgroups, member discounts, and our shared experience on how to market software.

Here’s another in our series of profiles of our members. All we asked was this: How did you get started?

David Hyde, of HydeSoft Computing, joined the ASP July 23, 2002, and is online at www.dplot.com

Jerry Stern, Editor, ASPects


 
David Hyde

My college training was rudimentary at best (CS majors would say non-existent): Introduction to FORTRAN and a steel frame analysis class that involved hours and hours of typing punch cards, standing in line (don’t you DARE drop that stack!), then several minutes after feeding the cards in, getting a syntax error due to a typo on card 786 of 1324. One diagnostic at a time, so the cycle was repeated MANY times. What I learned from that class was mostly that I didn’t want to work with computers :-), though I did pick up enough FORTRAN to get by.

In ‘82 I went to work at an engineering lab. Most computer work was done at a dumb Tektronix terminal (that had REALLY good graphics for the day–no pixels, instead vectors were… well, vectors) hooked to a Honeywell mainframe. And then PCs came along and POW. I fooled around a lot with BASICA and IBM’s FORTRAN offering and hoped that jazzing up my hotrod 6Mhz system with a 9Mhz clock crystal wouldn’t cause the building to catch on fire. I fooled around with a lot of graphing stuff and pretty basic physics problems. I also taught myself assembly language to optimize graphics and create my own menu system (all of which became irrelevant when Windows took over the world, but it was good experience).

Then in ~’88 our director dictated that each of five labs should publish a report/manual in some sort of electronic format, and I jumped at it thinking it sounded like fun. At the time I was involved with a big test series and figured I’d come up with an electronic version of my report, complete with 16-color pictures :-) (How in the world did we put up with that?) Thankfully that project got delayed and delayed and delayed some more and, because the deadline for an “electronic version of ” was going to occur before that project was completed, I chose instead to publish an electronic version of a technical manual our lab had contributed quite a bit to, including all the calculations and… this is the important part for the private me… graphical output of those calculations.

If the test program had kept to the schedule… well, I’d most likely not be an ASP member or have ever heard of the other ASP members in our newsgroups, and that would be a tragedy.

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6 Things to Check on Your (Old) Programs

August 31st, 2010

Many ASP members have been in business for quite some time and have their programs up and running. But the times (and Windows versions) are changing and there are some things one might easily overlook, being so used to one’s own programs.

Here are 6 things that you should check on your programs:

Code signing

Signed executables are important at many stages nowadays. Even though the customers usually wouldn’t notice the actual signatures, they will notice the reduced warnings that a signed executable causes. This warnings do not only come from Windows during the installation, but also from antivirus programs and other security software which rate the “trust” of each program. That’s why you should not only sign your installer, but also all ‘.exe’ and ‘.dll’ files that you’re installing.

High-resolution icons

I never noticed this one myself until a customer told me. The 16×16 and 32×32 icons in my programs looked pixilated and outdated. You can add higher resolutions to your “.ico” file with the freeware IcoFX. Be sure to keep a backup of the old “.ico” file because not all IDEs allow linking the new “.ico” files. As a workaround you can use the command-line tool ReplaceVistaIcon (available on Codeproject) which can replace the “.ico” section in your executable with the new “.ico” file.

Common controls 6

The new version of the Microsoft GUI will allow applications to have a “nicer” look, for example the slightly rounded buttons. You can activate this by adding a manifest file with a “Microsoft.Windows.Common-Controls” section. You can either specify the manifest file in your project settings or use Microsoft’s manifest.exe command-line tool.

UAC

Many customers now have Windows versions with split rights accounts. In normal mode a lot of things will fail, like installing a service or creating a shortcut in the startup folder. If your program requires full admin rights for any of its actions, you should be aware of this. If the function fails you should either give the user a **helpful** error message or handle the UAC “elevation” to full rights automatically.

You can detect the type of account your program is running under with GetTokenInformation and TokenElevationType. It is not possible to elevate a running process. You have to start a new process with ShellExecuteEx, specifying “runas” as verb.

Progress bar

If your program includes any sections that display a progress bar for some time, then you should support the Windows 7 feature of displaying the progress also in the Windows task bar. The details greatly depend on your programming language. Use IID_ITaskbarList3 as a starting point.

Larger fonts

The screen resolutions have become so ridiculously high, that it’s difficult to read the text on the screen. That’s why many customers have activated larger fonts in Windows. This causes Windows to automatically scale up all dialogs. This works nicely with most standard dialogs but can cause problems with custom controls. Check your application while large fonts are activated.

Thomas Holz is the owner of ITSTH and the author of outlook tools to synchronize, remove duplicates and use boilerplate texts and writes in his devblog, if he still has too much time after optimizing the website.

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Shareware is dead – long live shareware!

June 15th, 2010

Today it is relatively easy to market your software (through a web site), distribute the software (via Internet downloads) and collect payment (using an online payment provider). It wasn’t so easy before the Internet existed. “Shareware” appeared in the 1980s as a way for small commercial developers to reach a large market.

Shareware was one of the surprises of the early personal computer industry. Who would have thought that you could make a living from software paid for on the honor system? Make it publicly available, invite people to make copies of it and give them to their friends, and base your income prospects on a little notice asking people to send you a few dollars if they found the program useful.

Michael Swaine, Dr Dobbs, January 2000

Early shareware pioneers including Andrew Fluegelman, Jim Knopf (Button), Bob Wallace and Marshall Magee proved the commercial viability of the shareware concept, reportedly making millions. Read more…

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Happy 2010 with ASP!

January 6th, 2010

Happy new year everyone! “Lets hope the year of the Tiger treats us better than the year of the Cow did!” :), to quote Bill from Webmaster World.

I hope this year the ASP will become even more popular (this is also the main 2010 goal of Jim Coutu, the new Chairman of the Board of Directors of the ASP) and will welcome more software authors.

A few changes have happened inside the ASP board: it has a new Chairman and 3 new members have joined the Board for a two year term. Jim Coutu from GatorData Inc is the new Chairman of the Board of Directors for this year. The three new members who have been elected for the board, that I wish to welcome wholeheartedly, are:

Don Waterfield Laura Look Michael C Battilana
Don Waterfield, senior programmer/analyst at Aqumix, Inc. Laura Look, project manager at Bitsmithsoft. Michael C. Battilana, president of Cloanto.

A big thank you on behalf of everyone at ASP goes to the 3 members whose term ended in the Board of Directors, for all the enthusiastic work done in ASP: Henk Devos, Greg Weir and Dave Gjessing. Read more…

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Safer Downloads for Sale

December 1st, 2009

Safer Downloads

The ASP funded the development of a software certification service called Safer Downloads (SD) through the trial stage.
It now wants to divest itself of this property and is soliciting bids to transfer ownership.

Up for sale, as a package, are the:

  • saferdownloads.com (.net & .org) and safeshareware.com domain names (4 total)
  • USPTO trademark registration of the seals
  • ownership of the proprietary software and content used to power the site
  • activity and test records, as they exist on site

All funds offered by initial prospective customers (less than 10) have been returned. Most bank balances have been recovered by the ASP. An existing CD (time deposit) will be recovered soon and so there are no financial assets transferring to buyer under this sale. Read more…

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Pretty Sells – Does it Relate to Screenshots?

September 21st, 2009

Taking screenshots of software programs for website presentations is an essential need for every microISV. It’s often said that an image speaks a thousand words and the screenshot as an image should promote the very essential nature of the product. Looking at ASP members sites around the web I noticed that many vendors use screenshots of various quality.

In many cases, they show a beautiful virtual 3D box shot, but somehow neglect the same eye candy on their product screenshots. What I am talking about here is the use of various artefacts such as not properly clipped window borders, weird shadows or the most obvious “dirt” on background.

So it is important to have pixel perfect virtual boxes (which don’t even exist in reality), but the quality of screenshots of products itself doesn’t matter ? Or are there some other obstacles that make producing nice screenshots a hard task ? Lets have a look. Read more…

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How to Find Great Business Books for microISVs

September 9th, 2009

bookstack

We all know that we should be spending more time reading good books about business, sales and marketing. But it’s difficult to find worthwhile books. Here are some tips for locating the best business books, buying them affordably, and building a library that will pay dividends year after year.
Choosing Good Business Books
Amazon.com has more reviews than other book sites. But it’s often difficult to tell if the book being reviewed is relevant to the software industry in general, and to mISVs in particular.  Many times I’ll buy a marketing book based on amazon.com recommendations, only to find that the book is targeted at larger enterprises. Most of us don’t need to read about strategies that ensure that our marketing staff is communicating effectively with our manufacturing managers. Read more…

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What would you do differently?

September 3rd, 2009
Photo credit: Robbert van der Steeg
Photo credit: Robbert van der Steeg

… if you had to start your software story again?

As a software industry enthusiast, I am curious to know how others see their business development and what they would change, in hindsight and with a set of brand new 2009 eyes. :)

Neil on Business of Software Network asked the community a similar question (If you could wave a magic wand…) related to the marketing of software. Answers such as focus on usability, better knowledge of customers poured in (the discussion is still open).

Some even expressed their wish to get into their customers heads completely, or even in their competition’s financial reports, to see if it’s worth outrunning them anyway. Read more…

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Welcome to the New ASP Blog

July 16th, 2009

Here we are at another milestone – the ASP Blog launch day :) . I’m just as excited as you are when thinking of the things we will be able to do via this powerful tool. As a first post, let me tell you more about…

… the idea behind it:

This new resource is intended to help you as a member of the Association of Shareware Professionals share your experience and learn from others on various topics of your interest.

… main benefits you can get from the blog:

I’m sure many of you are advocates of blogs in general. What’s in it for you on this one?  First of all, you will know how others handled various aspects of their business, what was successful and what went wrong. You can learn from their know-how and calibrate your strategy in the right direction, avoiding pitfalls.

Secondly, you can benefit from important advertising / promotion opportunities via the ASP Blog. Don’t get me wrong, we won’t encourage or accept blatant advertising. We encourage real knowledge, tips, ideas. The more you contribute, the more your name will be associated with Software Industry Professionals.

… contributing to the blog:

Any ASP member can post on the blog. You just have to send your request to blog@asp-shareware.org and you will get further details via email. Read more…

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