The past few days we’ve sent the Goldenseal source code off to a couple of programmers, after signing non-disclosure agreements. They’ll take a look, and then we’ll decide which to go with, and sign a contract for Goldenseal Pro. That will probably take a week or two.
Meanwhile, we have started work on a major overhaul to the Turtlesoft website. Web page design has improved enormously since our last site overhaul, and the new format will be friendly to screens of any size: from phone to pad to desktop. There are a couple thousand pages on the site (mostly in support of the Answers button), so it’s a big project, and will happen gradually. Right now we are still learning how to best use css rather than tables, for page layouts.
Running a Kickstarter campaign was an interesting experience! Even though it didn’t meet its goal, it accomplished several things:
- We got some video editing experience. In the works are some instructional videos that we will put on YouTube, to help out beginners.
- All but $40 of the backing came from existing users. We kind of expected some new users/backers from Kickstarter itself, but business software must just not be entertaining enough for that. Oh well, this is what happens when you are in a non-sexy industry like accounting.
- We got acquainted with Kickstarter. They make it very easy to set up a campaign. We’d recommend it highly if you want to produce a movie, or launch some sort of innovative tool that will attract the fancy of the Kickstarter backer pool.
- It was a “vote of confidence” with our users. Although not overwelming, it was sufficient to make Goldenseal Pro seem worth doing.
- We now have the same incentives on our shopping cart, as reduced price pre-orders for Goldenseal Pro. You save some money by paying in advance, and we get the funding we need to have pros do the conversion. We even save the 5% Kickstarter fee.
- Playing around with Cocoa for a couple months really convinced us, we would much rather work on estimating and accounting code, rather than slog through framework esoterica that we’ll never touch again. Unfortunately, Apple’s standards for developer tools are much lower than for their consumer products. PowerPlant was understandable, and it’s sad that it wasn’t replaced with something as good, or better.
Turtle Creek Software
The bad news is that the Kickstarter did not reach its goal. There were 23 backers and $7000 pledged.
The good news is that bids for the programming work came in lower than expected. Two freelancers from Sweden & India respectively, have already done Carbon to Cocoa conversions, and seemed very competent from our message exchange.
So, we are now accepting pre-orders for Goldenseal Pro, and the project can probably still proceed on the original schedule.
If you have questions, please contact us by email or phone (607 220-4514).
Turtle Creek Software
We have been noticing weird problems with the Find command when we use Goldenseal 4.92 to run Turtlesoft. A couple users have also reported it. Even weirder, some of our test builds of Goldenseal work OK and some don’t.
We spent some time in the debugger yesterday, and finally discovered that it is a byte-swapping problem, probably related to the transition from PPC to Intel. However, it’s not something specific in our code, but rather in the way the code is processed by the compiler. If we use Xcode 3.0 and the gcc compiler, there are no problems, but Find breaks under Xcode 3.14 and the LLVM compiler.
There is a similar byte-swap problem in the multi-user client sign-on code. Even worse, other subtle problems may be lurking.
We’re still working on this. It may just be an Xcode bug that we can fix by using a different version of that program.
We finally fixed some old code, that was preventing client sign-ons from a Macintosh running the latest OS version (Mavericks). It will get a few days of testing here, and then we’ll either slip it into production without a version change, or do another minor update.
If you need this update right away, please contact us, and we can email the fixed app to you.
We just put the 4.92 update onto the update download system.
This minor update fixes a few bugs, and adds one new feature.
A few users have reported problems connecting from Macintosh clients, in Goldenseal 4.9.
We found the problem, and this will be fixed in the version 4.92 update, coming out next week.
A new user suggested that Goldenseal fill in a cost category automatically for each vendor: for example, have all plumber invoices start out in Plumbing.
It seemed reasonable and it was easy to program in, so this new feature will be in the 4.91 update.
BTW we get most of our ideas for new features from users, and we’d be happy to hear of other ideas for improvements!
A couple of annoying bugs have turned up in the version 4.9 update.
- The quantities for labor hours are incorrect, for some line items in estimate reports. All dollar costs are still fine.
- The match field in reports doesn’t work. As a work-around, use the Find command first, then make the report for Found Items.
We’ve fixed them, and plan to release a minor version 4.91 update before the end of the month.
We decided to combine our two Kickstarter campaigns into one. That way, we can give full attention to the Mac update, and get it out more quickly.
Windows users are still welcome to back the Macintosh campaign, and rewards can be applied to the Windows version upon request.