TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Oct 92 Editorial
Volume Number:8
Issue Number:6
Column Tag:The Editor's Page

Do Developers Have Ears?

By Neil Ticktin, Editor-in-Chief

Because we are a magazine, software companies regularly send us copies of their software to review. As a result, we see a lot of software. (Its good to be the editor). We actually try to use each product a bit. What we find is surprising - most software doesn’t do what we want.

Some Good, Some Bad, Some Ugly

First, let me say that I am not bitching and moaning - there are good products. Take a look at Global Village’s GlobalFax software. The idea of just holding down your Option key (while selecting Print ) to fax is simple and effective - in other words, perfect.

The problem lies in those products not being developed by people who will use them. Take Quark XPress. I would find it hard to believe that its developers actually use the program on a day-to-day basis. The product has so many rough edges that it really slows work flow. For example, every time you move a file to a different parent folder, it can’t find the pictures it refers to - even if the relative position has not changed. Xpress's drawing and layout speed is so slow that you have to have a Quadra to run at an acceptable speed. (I think that the Quark people should start working on our “Programmer’s Challenge” problems to practice their efficient code writing. Either that or they should call Mike Scanlin to come to their rescue).

But it’s not my fault

Some developers run into problems because they are using someone else’s tool. Take CE Software’s QuickMail. Ever since version 2.5, QuickMail has used Apple’s Comm Toolbox. And, ever since then, communications have been relatively unstable. Many of the problems have been caused by the Apple Modem Tool and the Comm Toolbox (according to CE at least). CE wants to support the standard, but Apple has neglected a tool they pushed.

Version 2.5.1 of QuickMail has helped to solve many of the problems caused by the Comm Toolbox. Version 2.6 (which is reportedly slated to ship by November) is supposed to solve even more. But one thing is evident, CE seems to be working hard to overcome the limitations of the Comm Toolbox.

How do you solve the problem?

Bluntly - look for patterns and then look for easy solutions. One of the business practices that we’ve enacted at the new MacTutor is pattern recognition. For example, when Stephanie (our Marketing Director and one of my favorite employees) first started out, she accidently stuffed outgoing invoices in the wrong envelopes. Consequently, many of our advertisers got someone else’s invoice. An easy mistake, but an embarrassing one.

The solution was easy - window envelopes. Now, it is not possible for envelopes to be misaddressed and they don’t have to be hand addressed. An easy solution to an easy problem.

So how does this apply to software development? Listen to your customers. Use the applications you develop yourself. See what features you would like to have. What makes things run faster? What makes life easier?

Developer tools - the answer?

Most of the time, developer tools are a great way to get ahead on your project. You should always investigate existing tools before embarking on writing something from scratch.

The key with tools is to make sure that they are going to save you time and effort. If there is something lacking in a tool that you are already using, tell the vendor. Most vendors, except Quark, listen to their customers. And keep banging on those companies until they do what you want or give you a reasonable answer.

Warning to all naughty companies

As I’ve looked through the software from many companies, one thing has become evident. The companies like Quark who don’t even return tech support calls (even when you’ve already paid for them - just ask our Art Director, Judith) continue to sell product. Why? Because they have no competition. Quark survives because they are the only product in the marketplace that answers some of their users’ needs. So, here is a call to all developers identify companies like Quark and write a competing piece of software.

Where do we go from here?

It’s simple. Listen. Learn. Think about solutions then implement them! It is not as hard as it may seem. Try it you’ll like it.

We Need Tips and Letters

Remember, articles like “Dialog Box” (letters) and “Tips and Tidbits” are driven by you, the reader. To keep them alive, you have to write in so do it now!

Neil Ticktin

Editor-in-Chief

 
AAPL
$102.43
Apple Inc.
+2.67
MSFT
$44.84
Microsoft Corpora
+0.76
GOOG
$524.82
Google Inc.
+3.98

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

RapidWeaver 6.0 - Create template-based...
RapidWeaver is a next-generation Web design application to help you easily create professional-looking Web sites in minutes. No knowledge of complex code is required, RapidWeaver will take care of... Read more
NTFS 12.0.39 - Provides full read and wr...
Paragon NTFS breaks down the barriers between Windows and OS X. Paragon NTFS effectively solves the communication problems between the Mac system and NTFS, providing full read and write access to... Read more
RestoreMeNot 2.0.3 - Disable window rest...
RestoreMeNot provides a simple way to disable the window restoration for individual applications so that you can fine-tune this behavior to suit your needs. Please note that RestoreMeNot is designed... Read more
Macgo Blu-ray Player 2.10.9.1750 - Blu-r...
Macgo Mac Blu-ray Player can bring you the most unforgettable Blu-ray experience on your Mac. Overview Macgo Mac Blu-ray Player can satisfy just about every need you could possibly have in a Blu-ray... Read more
Apple iOS 8.1 - The latest version of Ap...
The latest version of iOS can be downloaded through iTunes. Apple iOS 8 comes with big updates to apps you use every day, like Messages and Photos. A whole new way to share content with your family.... Read more
TechTool Pro 7.0.5 - Hard drive and syst...
TechTool Pro is now 7, and this is the most advanced version of the acclaimed Macintosh troubleshooting utility created in its 20-year history. Micromat has redeveloped TechTool Pro 7 to be fully 64... Read more
PDFKey Pro 4.0.2 - Edit and print passwo...
PDFKey Pro can unlock PDF documents protected for printing and copying when you've forgotten your password. It can now also protect your PDF files with a password to prevent unauthorized access and/... Read more
Yasu 2.9.1 - System maintenance app; per...
Yasu was originally created with System Administrators who service large groups of workstations in mind, Yasu (Yet Another System Utility) was made to do a specific group of maintenance tasks... Read more
Hazel 3.3 - Create rules for organizing...
Hazel is your personal housekeeper, organizing and cleaning folders based on rules you define. Hazel can also manage your trash and uninstall your applications. Organize your files using a... Read more
Autopano Giga 3.7 - Stitch multiple imag...
Autopano Giga allows you to stitch 2, 20, or 2,000 images. Version 3.0 integrates impressive new features that will definitely make you adopt Autopano Pro or Autopano Giga: Choose between 9... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Fiete – A Day on a Farm Review
Fiete – A Day on a Farm Review By Amy Solomon on October 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCEUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Fiete – A day on a farm in an interactive app for young children full of... | Read more »
Tilt to Live: Gauntlet’s Revenge is Almo...
Tilt to Live: Gauntlet’s Revenge is Almost Here Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 21st, 2014 [ permalink ] One Man Left has announced the official release date of Tilt to Live: Gauntlet’s Re | Read more »
Sago Mini Monsters Celebrates Halloween...
Sago Mini Monsters Celebrates Halloween with Fun Costumes and Special Treats. Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 21st, 2014 [ permal | Read more »
Inferno 2 Review
Inferno 2 Review By Andrew Fisher on October 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: TWIN STICK GOODNESSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad With tight controls and awesome, stark visuals, Inferno 2 is loads of fun.   | Read more »
Clips Review
Clips Review By Jennifer Allen on October 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: CONVENIENT PASTINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Making copying and pasting more powerful than usual, Clips is a great way to move stuff around.   | Read more »
MonSense Review
MonSense Review By Jennifer Allen on October 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: ORGANIZED FINANCESiPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad Organize your finances with the quick and easy to use, MonSense.   | Read more »
This Week at 148Apps: October 13-17, 201...
Expert App Reviewers   So little time and so very many apps. What’s a poor iPhone/iPad lover to do? Fortunately, 148Apps is here to give you the rundown on the latest and greatest releases. And we even have a tremendous back catalog of reviews; just... | Read more »
Angry Birds Transformers Review
Angry Birds Transformers Review By Jennifer Allen on October 20th, 2014 Our Rating: :: TRANSFORMED BIRDSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Transformed in a way you wouldn’t expect, Angry Birds Transformers is a quite... | Read more »
GAMEVIL Announces the Upcoming Launch of...
GAMEVIL Announces the Upcoming Launch of Mark of the Dragon Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 20th, 2014 [ permalink ] Mark of the Dragon, by GAMEVIL, put | Read more »
Interview With the Angry Birds Transform...
Angry Birds Transformers recently transformed and rolled out worldwide. This run-and-gun title is a hit with young Transformers fans, but the ample references to classic Transformers fandom has also earned it a place in the hearts of long-time... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Select MacBook Airs $100 off MSRP, free shipp...
B&H Photo has 2014 a couple of MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. They also include free copies of Parallels Desktop and LoJack for... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $100 o...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Strong iPhone, Mac And App Store Sales Drive...
Apple on Monday announced financial results for its fiscal 2014 fourth quarter ended September 27, 2014. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $42.1 billion and quarterly net profit of $8.5 billion... Read more
Apple Posts How-To For OS X Recovery
OS X 10.7 Lion and later include OS X Recovery. This feature includes all of the tools you need to reinstall OS X, repair your disk, and even restore from a Time Machine backup. OS X Recovery... Read more
Mac OS X Versions (Builds) Supported By Vario...
Apple Support has posted a handy resource explaining which Mac OS X versions (builds) originally shipped with or are available for your computer via retail discs, downloads, or Software Update. Apple... Read more
Deals on 2011 13-inch MacBook Airs, from $649
Daily Steals has the Mid-2011 13″ 1.7GHz i5 MacBook Air (4GB/128GB) available for $699 with a 90 day warranty. The Mid-2011 13″ 1.7GHz i5 MacBook Air (4GB/128GB SSD) is available for $649 at Other... Read more
2013 15-inch 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pro availa...
B&H Photo has leftover previous-generation 15″ 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pros now available for $1599 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $400 off original MSRP. B&H... Read more
Updated iPad Prices
We’ve updated our iPad Air Price Tracker and our iPad mini Price Tracker with the latest information on prices and availability from Apple and other resellers, including the new iPad Air 2 and the... Read more
Apple Pay Available to Millions of Visa Cardh...
Visa Inc. brings secure, convenient payments to iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3as well as iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Starting October 20th, eligible Visa cardholders in the U.S. will be able to use Apple Pay,... Read more
Textkraft Pocket – the missing TextEdit for i...
infovole GmbH has announced the release and immediate availability of Textkraft Pocket 1.0, a professional text editor and note taking app for Apple’s iPhone. In March 2014 rumors were all about... Read more

Jobs Board

Senior Event Manager, *Apple* Retail Market...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global event strategy. Delivering an overarching brand story; in-store, Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
Project Manager / Business Analyst, WW *Appl...
…a senior project manager / business analyst to work within our Worldwide Apple Fulfillment Operations and the Business Process Re-engineering team. This role will work Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
…customers purchase our products, you're the one who helps them get more out of their new Apple technology. Your day in the Apple Store is filled with a range of Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.