Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

CaptionIt! 2.0 Released

April 18, 2008

After working hard through the long, cold winter nights, CaptionIt! 2.0 has been released. This new version incorporates a lot of the ideas and feedback I got from the first release, with the biggest improvement being that you can now interact with captions using the mouse, much like how PowerPoint lets you drag text boxes around and resize them. Now you are no longer limited to placing a caption in one of 9 predefined locations, giving you tremendous flexibility over the layout of captions.

I also introduced several new styles including speech balloons, text boxes, and thought bubbles. The bubbles were the most interesting to implement, in terms of programming a pleasing cloud-like bubble. You can now select the border, fill, and position the tail of the caption to point to a particular location.

The next big change was an overhaul of the interface. I switched from the Office 2003 light blue color scheme to a more neutral dark gray scheme. This was modeled after Adobe’s Lightroom and Apple’s Aperture professional photo imaging applications. These programs are designed by user interface experts and are worthy of emulation. For example, the dark gray palette helps you focus better and the color composition of the photo and is less distracting than the light blue color scheme was. I also got rid of the directory browser panel since it occupied too much space, reducing the canvas or workspace you have.

This release is a milestone in my microISV’s journey and next I will turn my efforts to marketing and improving the visibility of the product.

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Halo 3 ruined my microISV

September 27, 2007

Unless you’ve been living in a sensory deprivation tank, Halo 3 has stormed the shores of gaming. Even with the avalanche of hype and marketing, the game is the real deal and has consumed my valuable biz time as my squadmates and I fight off hordes Covenant and the Flood. I estimate a couple more days to play through the Campaign on Heroic and to get Halo somewhat out of my system. I’ll have to give the multiplayer competitive scene a shot, but I’m not much into playing against strangers. In other news, I’ve managed to wrap up my bank’s onerous business account application. Next, I’ll be doing some more research on the competition as I formulate my next product.

Why I started my MicroISV

September 19, 2007

PME Software LLC officially went public on September 1, 2007. The original idea was sparked by a conversation with my mother-in-law describing how she would love to have a simple to use software program that would let her add captions to the pictures she takes. She works as a real-estate agent and wanted an easy way to add text to pictures without having to master something like Photoshop.

This was in November of 2006. Fast-forward to now. Even for a relatively simple application such as CaptionIt!, there is a lot work that has to be done and it’s surprising how much of it is not code related.

My main reason for starting my own MicroISV is to eventually be my own boss and to write the kind of software that I want to write. I started my career working at some cool companies doing 3D graphics, distributed systems, and visualization but I eventually realized that no matter how cool the project you always end up at the mercy of arbitrary schedules, irrational managers, and the soul-deadening effects of corporate life. I am currently working as a contractor, which provides more control over my hours and significant flexibility, but at the end of the day you are still writing code for someone else. Starting a MicroISV gives me the chance to break free from that cycle and to connect directly with users. It’s a lot of work, but in the end a lot more rewarding.