January 27, 2004

One of my little one-shot utilities, MailCoder, seems to have been featured on the UK Sunday Times and I’m suddenly getting e-mails from people asking me how to use MailCoder :p When I wrote the utility, I simply wanted something which would encode e-mail addresses so that spammers couldn’t get at them. Once I’d written it, I thought that somebody would find it useful and so put it up as a download. However, I never thought that it would need any documentation since it was a simple screen with just two buttons on it and so there was no documentation :p

Big mistake – especially when something like The Sunday Times decides to feature it, since I guess everybody wants to give it a try then :p Anyway, here is the standard e-mail that I’ve been sending the people who write to me and ask me how to use it. Hopefully, it helps a few people who might also take a look at the site before writing to me 🙂

"MailCoder was written for people who want to display their e-mail address on a web page they’ve designed (not sure if it works with web forms and forums or not). You simply plug in your e-mail address into the E-Mail Address field, click the Code button and then click the Copy button to copy the coded address into the clipboard. Now simply switch over to your website’s HTML code and paste the coded e-mail address in. When the web page is browsed using a browser, you will see the address displayed normally. Hope that makes sense."

Update: I went over to the Times web site and it looks as if it was my friend Nigel Powell who wrote the offending article :p He’s got a section on The Sunday Times named "Don’t panic: Nigel Powell answers your home technology queries" and while I can’t get into read the section (the online edition needs a subscription), I think this must have been where MailCoder was mentioned. I’m sure that Nigel didn’t anticipate people not being able to use the app either – or else he probably would have explained the thing in detail 🙂

Incidentally, while writing this entry, I realized another problem with Blog – somebody mentioned that copying and pasting from websites was broken. Now I see what happens :p The HTMLEdit component takes the pasted entry as HTML and tries to deal with it, HTML tags and all! So it puts in a comment tag at the beginning to say that this is a fragmented entry and that ends up in making the whole pasted bit effectively invisible in the WYSIWYG view. You can still go to the HTML view and take out the comment tag to make the pasted text appear but I think I might have to add a "Paste as text …" option or make pasting as text the default …

Posted by Fahim at 8:31 am  |  No Comments

January 21, 2004

Well, the new release of Blog 8.0 beta is out :p I think I put up the download yesterday and nobody seems to have noticed the change in the sidebar yet since I haven’t received any comments about it :p Or maybe people are just so totally satisfied with the new build that they have nothing at all to say :p In any case, the build is there, it seems to work fine for me and hope it does the same for you 🙂

Posted by Fahim at 8:29 am  |  No Comments

January 19, 2004

Yes, this is kind of the time for my usual monthly update :p At least, that’s what my updates on this site seem to have devolved to of late. But I do have news – lots of news. Some good, some bad but still news :p So let me get started without much ado.

First, I haven’t had much time to work on Blog of late since I’ve been working on Roomz (which I actually got to a working stage before I shelved it for a bit ..) and then I moved on to Amanuensis, the writer’s editor that I’d written for my wife. I started working on what I think is going to be my first novel (not sure if it will be a novel yet since with me, the stories develop as I go and so I have no idea where this will head) and I realized that Amanuensis missed a few features that I personally needed. So I rewrote most of Amanuensis and I am pretty happy with how it has turned out. I’ll probably be putting up more info about Amanuensis on a separate page either today or in the next few days.

That brings me back to Blog. I’ve gotten back to Blog again and have fixed the last few things that I needed to do to get Blog 8.0 beta 3 out. In fact, I’m typing this on what will become the 8.0 beta 3 release :p So yes, there will soon be a new release of Blog 8.0 as well. This build fixes all the bugs discovered from the previous beta and also adds the ability to ping weblogs.com and blo.gs and the ability to have your permalink anchor tag placed wherever you want with a new Blog tag (and the option to have it still auto-inserted – which is the default). I will continue to work on the next build of Blog 8.0 in the coming weeks – in between adding stuff to Amanuensis and working on my story that is :p

The bad news? Well … I’ve realized that while I want to help people and release software for free so that everybody will benefit from what I code, I do have to make money somewhere – especially since I’m married now :p Plus, I seem to spend quite a lot of time responding to questions which had already been answered on either the FAQ or the forums just because people don’t bother to take the time to look. The donation link does nothing (I’ve received a total of two donations since it’s been up for the last two years or so – thanks to those who donated BTW!) and I spend quite a lot of my time providing support for my software when I could be doing other stuff. And no, I am not going to make Blog shareware. I still want my software to be free (well, almost all my software to be free – I’ll get to that in a bit). But I think I’m going to start charging for support since a lot of people don’t seem to even take the time to consult the FAQ or the forums. I will update the FAQ and the forums will continue to be in place but if you want personal support from me, it will have to be done on a paid basis. I feel bad about taking this step but that seems to be the only way to go at this stage. The support package will be reasonable since it will be a nominal fee and it will get you complete support for a month – that should usually get a person completely set with Blog and they shouldn’t have a need to consult me again after that, should they? :p

The final bit of news is that while all of my existing software will continue to be free, Amanuensis will not be. I will probably put up a page (as I mentioned before) which details the features of Amanuensis (and I personally think it’s a great writer’s editor – I should know since I looked at quite a few out there and wrote this because none of them had what I wanted or were way too expensive being in the $99 – $500 range). I might even put up a demo version which will be fully featured but will have the option to save completely disabled. I plan to sell Amanuensis at around $ 30 or so. Again, more details later …

That’s about it for the moment. I need to go do lots of stuff – coding, web site and documentation. So till next month … :p


Posted by Fahim at 3:21 pm  |  No Comments