Archive for August, 2005

One Point Three Point Six

Monday, August 29th, 2005

TopDesk 1.3.6 is out. A list of the new features and bug fixes in this version can be found here.

This release fixes a bug that occurred when a user came back from standby or hibernation to the Windows login screen, and then stayed at the login screen for longer than 30 seconds.

Trials and Tribulations

Wednesday, August 17th, 2005

Furry Goat says he hates the TopDesk trial so much that he doesn’t want to register. The question’s been asked of users before as to whether we should switch to a traditional time or usage limited trial keep it as is. Last time this was asked we didn’t get much of a response, but the majority of the responses we did receive indicated that they preferred the trial as is. Seeing someone loathe your software so much over balloon help messages is very disconcerting however, so I’m throwing the question back out there:

What kind of trial would you like to see, and why?

P.S. Keep in mind that the trial has to offer users an incentive to purchase the full version (development’s fuelled mostly by Red Bull and coffee, and we’d rather not have to resort to shoplifiting them :) ).

One Point Three Point Five

Monday, August 15th, 2005

TopDesk 1.3.5 is out. A list of the new features and bug fixes in this version can be found here.

This release is mostly bug fixes, but we’ve also taken the oppurtunity to experiment with the features available in the trial. The trial’s been changed to allow users to configure all of the options (they still can’t be saved though), but a nag screen has been added that appears at startup and every 10th time a hotkey is pressed. Hopefully this setup will give users a better idea of what TopDesk is capable of, while still offering enough of an incentive to upgrade to the full version.

As always, we’re interested in any feedback users have on this topic.


Monday, August 15th, 2005

Quite a lot of suggestions have been posted on the TopDesk Feature Request thread in our forums, so at this point I’d like to take a moment to clarify my position how additional features will be handled.

I’m wary of adding any additional functionality to software that’s a either subset of existing functionality or that differs slightly from existing functionality, or any configuration options that don’t have a real impact on the functionality of the software, because if you do this an application tends to end up with “featuritis”, and becomes so confusing and complex that it’s no longer fit for it’s original purpose.

Examples of what I consider “featuritis”, there’s WinZip (all you want to do is zip and unzip files, so why is it so complex that it needs a configuration wizard?), and one of our competitors (I’m not going to mention names, but they had a good product that has unfortunately ceased development), who allowed users to configure almost everything about their application.

There’s nothing wrong with this approach to software for some applications, but I’m of the opinion that general-use software should just do what it says it does, and only provide configuration options that actually make a difference to the functionality of the application. After all, do users really benefit from being able to turn WinZip toolbar tooltips on or off? Couldn’t development time have been better spent on improving the zip/unzip workflow?

Getting back to the forum posts, there’s been a lot of great suggestions from users, some of which have been implemented already, and some of which will be implemented in future versions of TopDesk. However, if it’s found that adding a feature means introducing additional complexity, the feature will be dropped without ceremony. The challenge for me is to keep improving TopDesk while still keeping it simply useful software.

Update 19/08/05: I’ve seen a couple of posts on our forums that talk about how we’re into making simple software. I’d just like to clarify that this isn’t the case. What we’re about is making sure that software that may be complicated for us to develop is simple for others to use.

TopDesk Guestmap

Friday, August 12th, 2005

Scott Hanselman’s blog mentions My Guestmap, a site that lets users pin their location on a map of the world. I’ve jumped on the bandwagon and set up an Otaku Software guest map, so feel free to pin up your location and show us where in the world TopDesk is being used.

One Point Three Point Four

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2005

TopDesk 1.3.4 is out. A list of the new features and bug fixes in this version can be found here.

This release refines a lot of features, like window hiding and window tile layout, and adds in a couple of new features, the coolest of which is drag-and-drop support. To drag and drop, drag a file over a tiled window, hold it for a second to untile the window, then drop the file onto the untiled window. Combining drag-and-drop with mouse hotspots means you can drag a file from your desktop onto a window without touching the keyboard (e.g. hide visible windows, drag the file from the desktop, show visible windows, tile all windows, hold the file over the tiled window of your choice until it untiles, then drop the file).