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McSink Registered Owners, take note

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Jeff Meyer

Sep 20, 1988, 3:58:10 PM9/20/88
Got a note in the mail last weekend about several shareware products being
picked up by a company named Prefered Publishers, and upgrades offered to
registered owners of the shareware versions. Was a bit confused at first,
as none of the programs appeared to be ones which I had purchased, until I
noticed that Vantage, the text-editting DA, used to be McSink, which I paid
for a while ago (a lovely DA for anyone who does a lot of text manipulation).

However, on reading the upgrade price sheet, there was no upgrade price for
Vantage for registered McSink users listed. I called up Preferred
Publishers, and they said it was a publishing mistake -- it's $10 for
registered users. So if you're a McSink owner, and were wondering what was
going on, that's the story. For more details, the company's number is (901)

Vantage appears to be McSink with a spelling checker and a macro package
built-in, but the description was rather short. I'll let you know more
about it when it arrives in the mail...

"I feel the Need..."
"The Need..."
Moriarty, aka Jeff Meyer
INTERNET: mori...@tc.fluke.COM
Manual UUCP: {uw-beaver, sun, microsoft}!fluke!moriarty
CREDO: You gotta be Cruel to be Kind...
<*> DISCLAIMER: Do what you want with me, but leave my employers alone! <*>

Jon L. Spear

Sep 20, 1988, 10:54:47 PM9/20/88
In article <52...@fluke.COM> mori...@tc.fluke.COM (Jeff Meyer) writes:
>Got a note in the mail last weekend about several shareware products being
>picked up by a company named Prefered Publishers [...]

>Vantage appears to be McSink with a spelling checker and a macro package
>built-in, but the description was rather short. I'll let you know more
>about it when it arrives in the mail. [...]

You can also call them at 800-446-6393. I did about three weeks ago to order
Vantage, and again yesterday to find out where it was. They said it won't
ship until some time next month ("waiting on printers").
While the $10 McSink->Vantage registered user upgrade to add a
spelling checker and macros seems like a very reasonable price, their other
prices are a little strange. From their mailing, you can also buy Vantage
for $59.95 with a discount coupon until Jan 1, $79.95 Special Introductory
Price, or $99.95 Suggested Retail. Pick your price, I guess.
They are also carrying some of Andrew Welch's goodies. Easy
Envelopes is $(20,45,60,80 +/- $.05) for (upgrade,coupon,intro,retail).
Label Master is $(25,55,90,110), Exposure (screen dumper) is $(20,45,70,90),
and TO DO! is $(35,80,100,130). I asked what had changed in TO DO! to
increase it's worth from the $10 shareware fee to $100+, but technical
support was in a meeting.
Are we seeing the death of the shareware concept?

random rumors from Jon Spear, Comp Eng Student | With computers we can make a or | billion mistakes every second.

Chuq Von Rospach

Sep 21, 1988, 1:46:41 PM9/21/88
> Are we seeing the death of the shareware concept?

We've been seeing the death of shareware for a long time. Among the
casualties to date are Red Ryder and CE Software. Now these folks.


There are two basic flaws in shareware today. Between the two of them,
shareware is caught in a pinscher movement that will force serious software
people out of shareware.

Problem 1: you don't pay for what you use. Completely ignoring the licensing
requests and restrictions on the individual pieces of shareware
(some of which are amazingly silly), it basically comes down to
this: if you use the software, you pay for it.

How many of you do? I currently have four pieces of shareware
on my desk (that pitiful number will lead to problem 2 below).
I've paid for three of them: Miniwriter and StuffIt and
Kiwienvelopes. Why? I use them. Constantly. The third, which I
haven't paid for, is McSink. Why? I'll get into that later.

Problem 2: bad shareware. There's a *lot* of garbage being 'marketed' as
as shareware. Someone puts in a weekend hack and decides to upload
it and maybe make a buck. It's ugly, it's trivial, it's buggy. Maybe
it'll crash your hard disk (this happened to me once).

Whatever, there are hundreds and hundreds of shareware programs, and
most of them aren't worth the space that they take up on a floppy.

With *that* much garbage out there, is it surprising that folks
give up on shareware? It has to be really something interesting
to get me to download these days -- something that looks really
good or that I really need. 95% of the time I'm still
dreadfully disappointed, and it either gets shoved to floppy or
deleted outright.

On the one side, the idiots are uploading crap and making it hard for the
real shareware authors to get their wares known. Once they are known, people
don't pay them for their work (and frankly, I'm a lot less likely to pay for
shareware these days because of the times I've been burned by shareware that
I paid for early on, and then didn't get the upgrade, or didn't get the
manual, or the program decided to break or show up a bug and the author
decided not to bother fixing it. I'd much rather buy commercial, more
expensive or not, and get the entire package at once and have a hope of
support and an upgrade path [of course, I've been burned there, too. But not
as often].

If you publish Shareware, you can't win. Even if you have a killer product,
you don't get paid for it. Good press clippins and lots of applause are
nice, but they don't pay the bills. And once have a shareware product, if
you try to take it commercial, you run the risk of having people look at is
as a 'cheap' product, or having them look at you as if you've 'sold out'
(you USED to *give* it away. Now you're going to charge us? How DARE you?).

No wonder shareware's dying. It was originally viewed as an alternate
distribution channel to commercial software. It's been subverted by the
folks looking for a quick buck on their quick hack. Shareware was supposed
to mean commercial quality software, cheaper. What it really means, with a
few, very few, exceptions is software that isn't good enough to be sold. 95%
of the stuff being 'sold' as shareware these days would have been uploaded
and given away in the public domain in 'the good old days' before the
shareware concept was invented. And most of it isn't worth the download
time, much less the shareware fee.

Finally, McSink. I have it. I use it. I haven't paid for it. Why?

Partly self-admitted laziness -- I haven't gotten around to it. But I don't
use McSink that much, and I'm not really happy with it. It does what I want,
sort of -- except when it crashes. And I've spent a lot of time and money
downloading what seems like 37 different versions of the stupid program, as
the author learns how to use his customer base as an extended beta site. The
current version still crashes regularly on me, too. Because the thing isn't
stable and really has never been stable, I've never been convinced that I'm
going to want to keep it around permanently. I can live without McSink, and
one of these days I probably will. McSink hasn't sold me.

Chuq Von Rospach ch...@sun.COM Delphi: CHUQ
Editor/Publisher, OtherRealms

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