[futurebasic] Re: [FB] App crippling

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From: Brian Stevens <brilor@...>
Date: Wed, 12 May 2004 21:54:29 -0700
On May 12, 2004, at 2:00 PM, Robert Covington wrote:

> On Wednesday, May 12, 2004, at 12:26  AM, Brian Stevens wrote:
>> On May 11, 2004, at 5:08 AM, Robert Covington wrote:
>>> So I was thinking about adding a splash timer , and also either 
>>> limiting the app to no more than 2 open images until registered, or 
>>> things like that.
>> If I were the author of Compositor, a minimum of a splash timer like 
>> Graphic Converter (that gets more annoying as time goes on) makes 
>> good sense. My  shareware uses a similar scheme to one you described, 
>> but I'm not particularly concerned about people hacking because it is 
>> a mini-PIM and doesn't compete for market share with the big boy 
>> apps. Compositor, however, directly competes with the big boys in its 
>> genre (i.e. photoshop etc.) at a drastically reduced price, and with 
>> almost identical features.  People looking at PS are bound to give 
>> your application a try, and (here's the key) it is definitely worth 
>> their time to try and break your registration scheme given the price 
>> difference between PS and Compositor. Simply put, they have some 
>> incentive to break in. So, something more restrictive than an 
>> annoying countdown might even be warranted. Maybe give them full 
>> features for xx amount of days and cripple the application gradually 
>> until you reach some number of elapsed days. Of course, implementing 
>> only the method used by GraphicConverter might be enough. If GC has 
>> been around this long, they must be coercing enough people to 
>> register to keep the financial ship floating(a few assumptions there 
>> to be sure)
>> Just my 2 cents. Apologize for the semi-ramble.
>> Brian
> Better a semi-ramble than no echos at all. : )
> To tend first to your comment which was at  bottom, for efficiency's 
> sake:
>>> I am not sure. Studies have shown that crippling an application, 
>>> smartly, can result in up to 5 times more registrations for 
>>> shareware products, simply because people really only pay for what 
>>> they have to (...as a group, that is. Individuals certainly vary).
>> I'd like to read your reference on this if you have it. Some hard 
>> evidence would help all of evaluate this difficult topic.
> Go to http://www.StickSoftware.com/ and see the article, via his 
> 'About Me' link, which is < http://www.StickSoftware.com/haller.html >
> (if you like moving eyes and walking feet on your desktop, that's the 
> place to go anyway)
> Article is  at :  < http://www.StickSoftware.com/register/policy.html >
> Excerpt from his About Me  page:
>> Some of you will remember when "not using registration codes" was 
>> part of Stick Software's vision. I changed my mind on that, towards 
>> the end of 2003, for reasons that are both complex and personal. I 
>> don't explain that decision anywhere on the rest of the website, 
>> since it isn't really public Stick Software policy; but for people 
>> who (for some reason) care, I have written an <link>essay on 
>> registration policy. </link>
> Link is again < http://www.StickSoftware.com/register/policy.html >
> On that page are 2 links to the various articles that I mentioned.
> Unrelated:
> On his general links page is one that is hilarious once explored, "Mr. 
> Strong Bad"
> < http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail.html >
> Need  to have  Flash, but worth it. Funny stuff.

Thank you for the links. I'll check them out.

> Back to your timer comments and compliment...if this is self 
> indulgent, it is because this app is my near full time life for the 
> past few years.
>  I think a splash timer is fair, and not too annoying if not too long, 
> and still a helper as to motivating if not too short  and benefits 
> things by being hard coded and ever available, and allowing me to stop 
> timing out the app completely which is my goal because it remains on 
> the harddrive and in consciousness longer. If I feel it isn't working 
> that way, I can always make later versions use a different approach.  
> I like 5-10 secs as a starting amount , makes the point, but 30 at any 
> time is too annoying for anybody who still might buy I'd think? 20 
> would make the point and still be plenty annoying.
> Thank you for the very nice contextual compliment about my app.  For 
> shareware,  I think I do have a thorough feature list at a low price. 
> But I don't have any illusions about being any real competition to 
> Photoshop's deeper features, as it's a seriously deep and robust 
> application for good reason and I'm a flyweight or no weight in many 
> areas it touches. I can't nor should I be trying to make a clone of 
> that anyway as a creative endeavor. If my app is all a person needs 
> though, then it would be nice to save them money in the search for 
> their preferred image helper.
Photoshop seems to be analogous to MS Word and similar products with 
huge numbers of features  most users can't (or don't need to) use. 
Wouldn't a user with modest needs (I'm speculating here) take a look at 
a $30-$40 product (just picked $$---not sure what you charge---but know 
it isn't what PS charges) before plunking down several hundred for 
features they may never use?  Clearly, there will be graphics 
professionals who must have every feature, but presumably they have a 
company to cover their software expenses, so money is not quite as 
important. There must also be many budget-conscious students and 
freelance graphics professionals who would love to have an option to 
spend less. So even though Compositor does not currently match PS 
feature for feature (and it sounds as if Compositor is catching up), it 
clearly provides superior value for the features offered.

> But when people think "Imaging on the Mac", they still think 
> Photoshop, and GraphicConverter pretty much, not yet any radar blip 
> for my app it seems. Perhaps it's deserved. I lack advertising funds 
> and media play and reviews.

Agreed, more advertising would help. The versiontracker download stats 
are 9,400+ for all versions and 479 for the most recent version. That 
is a lot of folks giving your software a try, so exposure, while not at 
the level of professional marketing, is reasonable. Even without 
additional marketing (and I'm not saying it wouldn't be helpful), just 
increasing the percentage registered from these downloads could be 

> However, the new features coming up in Compositor v2.7 will make what 
> you say yet more true still ...that's new Curves, Levels, and new 
> Replace Color algorithm with ability to output  a selection mask  from 
> the result using just hue, saturation or lightness too. The latter is 
> like a mini-Asiva approach (that's a nice plugin that use hue as a 
> masking method). My curves and levels work as nice as the big boys 
> according to my tests (and better than GC for sure). The random curves 
> feature makes instant art, obsoleting my old Channel Changer feature.
> I think my main issue right now still is that nobody knows about the 
> app.  If they do, have tried it, and just don't like it, then I wonder 
> if am failing somewhere in the implementation and nobody is telling me 
> or it's missing the one feature that would make it indispensable.  To 
> cover that possibility I am enclosing a survey in the next release. I 
> still need to fully appearance-ize more dialogs to finish that up, and 
> do other HIG tidy up.

> I need also to write a nice documentation PDF that is like a 
> Compositor for Dummies and Imaging 101.
This would expand your audience. Graphic dummies like me don't even try 
to use Compositor due to the complexity of the topic.

> I'm still not sure that I haven't just left behind 50 percent of my 
> user base by not updating the Classic version as often. I'll find out 
> soon.
This has been one of my concerns. When to cut the cord for OS 8/9 user 
base. My registrations are approximately 70% OS 8/9.

> Sorry to be self indulgent, it's just that this app has taken over my 
> life, and thus is all I have to talk about. Other than inflammatory 
> things. :)
List is slow. Hopefully, mom will forgive.

> So , I'm looking at splash timers, inhibited function, and watermarks 
> right now, all worthy of consideration. Thanks to all who have replied 
> .
The combination of a dummies tutorial and incentive to register (splash 
timers etc.) sounds like to good combination.

Keep it going RC. You have a wonderful product and your help to all the 
FB List  programmers is very much appreciated.



> rc
> --