Shareware Beach

Sunday, 7 August 2005

Rafting on the Poudre

Filed under: Conferences — Jan @ 9:46

I didn’t take any pictures at this year’s Shareware Industry Conference, but I would like to share the pictures of the rafting trip. The trip was organized by David Trump. Twelve shareware industry bigwigs hit the water, while David followed us by car to take pictures.

The trip was definitely one of the highlights of the conference for those who participated. Hopefully, more people will organize such extra-curricular activities around the shareware conference in the future. It makes the long flight all the more worthwhile!

Monday, 18 July 2005

Microsoft and Shareware

Filed under: Conferences,Shareware Industry — Jan @ 12:14

It’s interesting to see the shift in Microsoft’s attitude towards the little independent developers. Three years ago at the SIC in Saint Louis, Microsoft did send a representative. But all that guy did was tout the .NET framework and Visual Studio.NET, like he probably does at numerous developer conferences.

Last year, and again this year, Microsoft provided the ESWC with a free booth at their Tech-Ed conference in Amsterdam. They’re also sponsering the ESWC itself.

This year, Microsoft sent three representatives to the SIC. They showcased the “Microsoft shareware starter kit”. Basically it’s an open source package that .NET developers can use to turn a piece of software into a try-before-you-buy shareware package, complete with registration/activation and payment processing. While I’m not convinced of the usefulness of the kit, at least in its present state, it’s good to see Microsoft is again paying attention to the little guy.

I also like the fact that Microsoft doesn’t shy away from using the word “shareware” instead of contrived terms like “micro-ISV”. The representatives mentioned several times during the sessions how Microsoft “is and has been in the shareware business” since forever, citing Windows XP as an example shareware product. Technically they’re correct. I did get a 120-day trial of Windows XP around the time it was first released.

Microsoft even won two awards at the annual Shareware Industry Awards, announced at a banquet at the end of the SIC. MS Office 2003 won the people’s choice award for best business application, while Windows Media Player won the industry award for best multimedia application. I still wish the SIA would promote the little guy.

Hopefully other tool companies, like Borland, will take notice. While Borland has changed its name back from Inprise, they still seem to be mostly focused on enterprise sales. The reason they gave for their latest earnings warning was that they increasingly depend on million-dollar-plus deals.

However, I’m not going to ditch Delphi in favor of Visual Studio just yet. The main reason is that the Windows monopoly is showing cracks. Linux has a strong presence in the server market. Mac users are envied rather than ridiculed. Apple’s move to switch to Intel chips may shake things up. The odds that Borland is going to support these operating systems are still better than that Microsoft will, even if Borland has pretty much abandoned Kylix.

SIC 2005

Filed under: Conferences — Jan @ 11:29

While I’m writing this, I’m enjoying the benefits of an unsecured wireless network. For a thrifty shareware author who doesn’t like to pay $9.95 per day to connect to the “hyatt” network, it’s really nice that somebody left their “linksys” network open. I can also see a “msftwlan” and “ibg_wavelan”, but those need a password.

I’m indeed staying a couple of days in Denver following the 2005 Shareware Industry Conference. Getting here was a 30-hour trip door to door from Bangkok, so I didn’t want to fly out immediately. I’ll be here until Wednesday.

It’s been an interesting conference. The quality of the sessions was very high. The most important thing I learned is not to sign up to be a speaker at the 9 AM session on Saturday. That’s way too early if you’ve been chatting till almost midnight the previous day. Fortunately, I managed to be awake enough when the session started. It went quite well.

Like every year, the socializing before, during and after the conference was the best part. It’s nice to finally be able to put a face to people like Brandon Staggs, Dexter Bell, Mitchell Vincent, Mike Stevenson, Sue Pichotta and everybody else I’m forgetting right now.

My wife, who came along for the shopping and sightseeing, was quite charmed by Michael Callahan. Thanks for another great conference, Mike!

Tuesday, 19 April 2005

See You in Brussels

Filed under: Conferences — Jan @ 20:05

After an unreliable voting process, which was extended for two weeks, it’s been decided that the next European Shareware Conference will be held in Brussels, Belgium. I doubt though that all 812 people who voted for Brussels will attend, much less the 2178 total voters. That’s after removal of duplicate votes. If 10% of all voters attend the conference will be a huge success compared with previous years.

That’s not a criticism of the conference, though. The small scope makes it possible to get acquainted with almost all attendees. People get connected and fit in. While the sessions are always informative, it’s the socializing before, during and after the event that makes attending really worthwhile.

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