How to choose a stable working software product?

My Product Manager was recently here at our Chennai, India office, currently he stays in the U.S He actually suggested this to our customers or who ever he met at the trade shows, (when customer do enquire about stability) on how to get a stable working software.

Simple look at the build number for a released product, if the last two number was Zero after the last dot, it is not the right time to upgrade from the previous version, Which you currently have. The better one would be when product makes updates of the release and the build number reflects a decent version number. Well the “decent” depends

What makes the difference on the build number?
As soon as a software get released. Customers download a free version of the software or even buy them and install at their working environment. For some it works like a charm, for some the hell freezes over. This doesn’t mean that the software is not tested on different working environments, it is just that very few test bed opportunity happens or few environmental simulation happens, and adding fuel to the fire -  customer environment may have different hardware to software and some software may actually have conflict with the newly installed ones.

So the development team gets the feedback fixes the bugs and make a update of the release. So does the Build number change for any product.

one more other way to ascertain that the product is stable, is to look at the forums of the product or any other public forums if available. Look for number of recent issues, bugs being reported. If it is moderately low, It means you have “decent” version out there for you to install. Kindly note: I assume that the product is fairly known to the outside world.

What he said seems to be very true?
An year ago, I was an early adopter for the Mahindra Renault Logan in India, “Thee Car”, there has been a substantial improvement done on the new Mahindra Renault Logan and the price being much cheaper than when it was released.

The logic can be applied to various other fields, wait and watch.

I am sure most of you know this trick, I just made this post for the new bees. Hope this helps.

How Commercial Software, can fight against the Free Softwares?

Before you jumping in to making of a software you looked in to the market and realized there is enough market share. Now you made it, wanted to test them. You made it free as a beta Phase, you now started making commercial version of the same and by retaining the free version with limited features for people to try.

Guess what? A new player comes and provides a me too version of the software for free, only revenue channel being advertisement inside the product.

How do you fight the free version?

Now let us look at same problem solved by the big software companies, I am just taking 2 examples.

  1. Microsoft Windows VS Linux
  2. Camtasia snagit VS Firefox addons Screen Grab VS WINK (Free)

Microsoft Windows – People continue to make fun of the “Blue screen of Death” in Windows, but funny bone people continue to run their machines with the same Microsoft Windows OS at least the majority of them.

When the threat came from Linux for Windows, I remember every media said that it was death of Windows and even now people say that web will be the new OS, that is still speculative.

What did Microsoft Windows do?
If I am not wrong, they came with lot of advertisements to educate users about the benefits of using Windows. They came with Windows XP SP1, SP2 & SP3 and fixed as much as they could. They executed it well.

I believe the marketing spend on Microsoft XP could have been almost or significantly nil when XP sales was at its peak. Word of mouth still holds good in business. Techies still continue to say XP is stable compared to Vista and there is no major innovation in Vista, that people have upgrade to Vista.

To say, we are still dependent on Microsoft for most of our office productivity. Aren’t we?

The second story is the most significant one. Their product is easy to create and it requires less effort and they still continue to be leaders in their USP. I am taking about TechSmith the makers of Camtasia Snagit.

They did face the similar issue of free software from the open source community.

The popularity of Firefox add ons created a market slow down for Camtasia Snagit and on top of that was the Freeware software called WINK, it did almost the same functionality of Snagit and it was free and forums was available for support.

How did TechSmith Camtasia Snagit fight?
Camtasia Snagit 7.2.5 the earlier commercial version of the software was given free.

Do you want to know why they made it free?
The story goes like this in the Indian shop vendors or Medical Shops, If you ask for a medicine and if it is currently out of stock, they will send one of their members to collect the same medicine from the medical store just opposite their store or even few streets away to procure the same and give it to their customers. It is that the customer gets a feeling that any medicine he needs can be obtained. And that he will come back to the same medical store if he needed one.

TechSmith didn’t want end users to try free software instead allowed users to try the previous commercial version for free.

I use Camtasia Snagit free edition as I experience the reliable, proven and easy to use screen capturing/recording software. BTW, I have already tried the software and its features, and even know each and every interface. It is just that it is easy to use, Comfortable. The only feeling being left out, that I am unable to use the advanced features, which are available in the current commercial version.

For the extra mileage they have contributed few projects called Jing Project and ScreenCast
That takes care of community etc etc

Final Notes: Winning over Free is difficult, but not impossible. If you believe in Free, you can’t win over Free. Undo the learning and fight against Free. If you wish to.

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Cuil may become tomorrow’s cool search engine

What is Cuil?
It is the new search Engine for the web.

Cuil to be sounded as cool.

Who is bringing us the new Search Engine. guess who?
Check the management page and that should lead you to old pals from Google top minds.

My only thought is that, How could people at google search engine team leave and start a new one as competition.  I should say people at google are either kind enough or being really stupid.

Cuil – All the best guys. Don’t be a disappointment for Google.

FusionCharts Free V2 – Free Flash Charts

Good news from IndSoft Global for Software/ Web developers. Now IndSoft Global is offering its Fusion charts V2 for Free.

Flash Fusion charts Free

Terms of use:

InfoSoft Global grants you a nonexclusive right to use FusionCharts Free subject to the following terms and conditions:

  • FusionCharts Free can be used for free if you are a individual/research/commercial user.
  • FusionCharts Free can be distributed for free with your free or commercial softwares, irrespective of whether they’re open source or closed source.
  • You must not sell FusionCharts Free as a component in itself. However, your commercial product can embed FusionCharts Free.
  • You must not represent in any way that you’re the author of FusionCharts Free.

That’s right it is free and the best part is the license, check the full terms of use right here.

Now your websites and products could offer RIA experience with interactive & meaningful flash charts.

You may want to know why the software is free and the comparison between the new Fusion Charts V3 and V2, find the info right here

Start downloading the Free Fusion charts V2 software right here

Like this link, care to share it with fellow developers.

Talking Photos, that too animated one

PQ computing

PQ talking photos

  1. What if your photos could animate and talk on your blogs or websites?
  2. What if some photos could explain things, like the product demo?
  3. What if, you could send some funny e-cards on their birthdays and other occasion?
  4. What if, you could place them as widget on your facebook and other social network sites?

The options seems interesting, Seems like a next step in product innovation for speech and animation with just photos. The product is in production and should be out before Christmas, Interested, find the product right here.

Bloggers do you need this Talking photos software, check the site for more details, You may get the software for free with license.

Convert Home made videos to DivX Pro holiday format. Free, limited time offer

DivX Pro holiday

Good news for the home video lovers, DivX pro is currently  available for free.

Yeah Free for a limited time only so don’t wait. here is the link to the DivX pro holiday download page

And thanks to Tal Siach for sharing the resource.

Software Professionals – Beware

When was the last time you used internet search to buy new or old homes, or when was the last time you made a search to find used cars.

Well con man have become tech savvy and using sites to find the lazy software professionals as bait. 

Try searching this site like magicbricks.com  to find new homes at low prices. Well the answer you are sure to hear is “Boss it is sold out, there are some more homes in that range, do you want to try?”

You take the lead, they will show you homes at the sky rocketing market prices. The real market.

Even the used car industry is not spared by these offline spammers. You are bound to find cars at low market price. Do not fall a bait. Check sites like carwale.com Use the online tools to find the best market price to buy used cars.

Well internet has become their local leads than usual petty shop leads.

Know about Silverlight & Expression Studio in chennai

Here is a good chance for

  • Creative Directors
  • Design Managers
  • Graphic Designers
  • Interactive Designers
  • Multimedia Designers
  • Web Designers
  • Usability Professionals
  • UI Developers

to know more about Microsoft Silverlight and Expression studio, the seminar is happening today i.e 13th November 2007 between 6-7 PM at Dublin, ITC Hotel Park Sheraton & Towers, No.132, T.T.K. Road, Chennai-600 018.

Please Note: Registration is between 5:30 to 6pm. Please be at the venue a little in advance to ensure your entry.

Contact for more details: Mr. Brijesh (event organizer) @ 2472-8113

It is short notice and I am really sorry about that, I had saved this post as draft and forgot to publish it.

Hope to meet you all there

Firefox firebug can slowdown Gmail

I was quiet thrilled when Gmail showed me this error msg. Gmail detected the browser to be firefox and the firebug addon turned on. I use firebug extension when I make AJAX calls on my projects, it is turned on by default.

gmail firebug

In fact Gmail suggest what you can do to fix the problem, here is the link which tells you how to turn the firebug extension disabled for a particular site or even the entire firebug extension to be disabled temporarily.
gmail firebug
What else more you need from Gmail.

Well raises more suspicion, which I had already talked about right here, is Google sneaking in to our privacy.

Google Soon to announce Open Social API

What does that mean to developers?
Those who are yet to start on the sharing platform, the work is simplified.
For developers who have already started, I see little bit of rework for all their apps if they want to use Google’s code.

Here is the link to google open social API OpenSocial

More news from these sites Techmeme, Techcrunch.