I have followed with interest FreeHandForum.org. To explain the problem in generic terms – a big corporation has bought a smaller company in the past and has acquired all rights to certain software which produces drawings with specific data file format. So far so – good, usual stuff. However after few releases the company announced that no new release will be produced and users are stacked with a hard decision either to transition their skills to another software or just give up multiple years of investment learning how to use the product and getting used to it.
Obviously I understand the fact that the companies involved have invested a lot of money developing the software and bringing it up to date with the needs of users. I cannot comment on the legal ramifications of the case. However from the point of conserving the knowledge of future generations and from the economical point of the users it seems that our generation is doing something wrong and something should be done differently in such cases. As the heading of the article says applications should be made public after certain number of years in order to preserve intellectual value contained in the application and make an opportunity for future generations to learn something. More importantly the law makers should take into account value contained in the skills of the people who learned how to use the program and have plenty of data files lying around. In many cases whole livelihoods of people are dependent on the application in questions.
The idea of this article gets some parallel in the pharmaceutical industry where patents are granted for certain number of years and then the active substance becomes in public domain, thus competitors can prepare generic drugs which should be cheaper and many occasions better efficacy then the original drugs. I am asking myself why this principle is not applied in the wide scope in the software industry. I think we are doing somewhere a mistake.
There are numerous example of the products which have been around for a while and have been abandoned. There is a big discussion linked here about certain programming language which used to be very popular. I am really convinced that this yet another example of the product which has been abandoned and need to be sourced into public domain.
We have just returned from Business Gives Back Expo at Exeter Racecourse. It was nice to meet many local businesses who are active in the area and also to make some new connections.
The Business Gives Back Expo has been organized by theBestOfExeter which is part of nationwide marketing and networking organization theBestOf. The program included few seminars. We have visited panel discussion with several leading businesses in the area.
The panelists participating in the discussion were from companies Shields Buildings, Love-Local, Brewer-Dolphin, Cartridge Solicitors and theBestOf.
They have summed up their own experience from the business – for example re-branding has been mentioned and they come up with several ideas in the end discussion which can be summed in few points:
- keep 5 year plan and divide it into manageable pieces
- recruit right people
- find local collaborations and work together
- focus on the customer service
- take responsibility for your own destiny
Some of it might look like a cliché, however these things get never repeated enough and all are relevant to our business.
On the fun side of the things – one idea came along very well - it is the never ending issue whether Devon should issue their own passports and all people participating in the discussion realized that it could be even interesting business propositions as a children toy.
So that was BGB Expo 2012.
Many of our customers recognise that Microsoft Access has become a liability. It is not easy to move Access from computer to computer. New and more complex applications may not be so easily merged with Access. None of the versions of MS Access support up to date elements of user interfaces such as e.g. docking, floating windows, pictures in grid .
As we understand from the vendor Access relies on Microsoft Jet Engine to perform the data handling in the Access database files. There are no ongoing substantial improvements planned for Jet Engine. In addition, Jet Engine is not compatible with newer versions of windows from Windows 7 64 bit, and therefore it is becoming obsolete.
Microsoft has introduced the .NET platform as an alternative to write business applications. For data storage it is possible to use SQL Server. However this can require advanced database knowledge to configure and maintain the installation, and can be complex if there is another program which is using the SQL server.
VistaDB is addressing all of these problems making it a good building block for application development for small and medium enterprises. It supports single and multi user environments. It is smaller and easier to deploy than Microsoft Jet. In addition the Licensing scheme is very business friendly. Therefore solutions based on this database engine are becoming popular.
For more information click here.
Here is a presentation given to Torridge Business Network group. It has been modified since then from useful comments and discussion afterwards.
Questions were generally raised regarding the comparison of internet hosted software & desktop applications. Cost was the main area of discussion. The general conclusion was that the total cost over a period of about 3 years should be considered prior to purchase.
If you need advice or guidance in software purchasing please feel free to contact us.
Sunny Ashburton on a Wednesday morn,
the Hexner team sped across Dartmoor, on a sunlit dawn.
Hot coffee greetings at the Lavender Hotel,
the A38 Networking Event went very well.
A two minute spiel, a boot filling breakfast,
Typical! I’m on the table with the competitor vendors!
Raffel ticket folding, helping Families for Children,
the exhibitor tour, a head full of names, and cards to endure.
Well, I hope we made an impression, we tried very hard,
if you came over and chatted, we gave you a Mars
After a business lunch the other day the phone rang and a keen young sales man from a high street bank (one I dont have a public share in) offered me a fantastic new small business product,
‘Great’ I say ‘Can you e-mail me the spec?’
‘Er, its 500 pages’
Rapidly followed by the inspired follow-up bouncing back down the phone line
‘But it will ONLY take a few minutes of your time to explain……’
The other day, on my daily trip home, I stopped at a pub I like in Halwill Junction. The pub is great, a real fire always lit and fantastic service. So, I did not mind waiting a few minutes in the rain for the pub to open. The day had been quite busy, so I was hoping to get a few quiet minutes before arriving home.
Once the drink had been served, I realized that it might be a good idea to phone home to let them now that was on the way. After few chatty words with bartender I pulled out my mobile phone and realized that there was no signal. (I won’t say which network I was on in order not to disclose private information from the network provider…)
So I asked for the phone behind the bar. The answer was:
‘There is a telephone box outside the pub…’
Are they serious, that I should walk in the rain to make a quick call locally…?
I answered – I am the customer and I want to pay for the service. I am bringing business to you, since I stopped here for drink.
In the end I got the phone and rang home. No answer. However it make me think – is there any regulation that customers cannot use phone in the pub, or is it just Landlord discrescion?
Hello! This is the debut blog of Hexner Limited who are offering Software Consultancy in Devon and Cornwall.
Hexner has over 15 years experience of designing and developing software applications. Based in the market town of Holsworthy, within the Ruby Country (www.therubycountry.com) of Devon, we aim to be a highly recommended service for industries of the Southwest.
Our current business accreditations are membership of The Federation of Small Businesses (www.fsb.org.uk), and Association of Professional Programmers (accu.org). We are also active in attending the networking meetings of ‘business network sw’ at Exeter(www.business-networksw.co.uk).
Techies might note that we are fans of Tom & Kai Gilb (www.result-planning.com) and have trained in Value Requirements – Stakeholder-Value driven front end Scrum, and Agile Inspection – Lean QA.
Translating this for normal people it means we want to deliver results to you that work as you intended! Actually Gilb principals are good for any form of business so you might be interested in looking them up for some ‘putting your house in order’ ideas.
For the start of 2011 we are offering a Health Check of your Microsoft database: Microsoft Office Access 2007, recently released as Microsoft Access 2010 is part of the Microsoft Office suite in the Professional editions. It is the database that small businesses may rely on for basic data handling and report generation.
Data systems close to capacity become slow or develop bugs. Not all report options are those you need or want. As financial end of year approaches it is a good time to make sure your database is optimized for reporting and archiving. Tell us what we can do for you by e-mailing us at st…@hexner.co.uk.
As our business builds we hope to bring you useful information and interesting links, meanwhile you can follow us on twitter (@pavol and @chalkyriver) or check us out in more detail on our web site www.Hexner.co.uk.