Rainy days and Java always get me down


I've Moved My Blog

It's currently located at http://www.urlinone.com/blog

I should say "I'm moving my blog." It's a pretty painful process.

Pebble has blown up on me, and it's been many months since I've been able to blog reliably. I've lost posts. And now I've got to figure out how to migrate my past blog posts from Pebble to my new destination without all the URLs changing, lest external links become 404 Not Founds.

Why does everything in the 21st century have to be a three-day project???

I'm in the midst of launching something pretty awesome. Of course, I'm not objective about it. :-) But I think it's going to be a very welcome addition to your toolbox. I can tell you that I love having it when I need it.

The thing is, the actual program has been operational for many months. In fact, I've been using it regularly since late 2005. But it's just becoming available now.

The reason it has not been available is that there have been weeks where I've done nothing but the peripheral stuff to market the product. There's the web site itself, the offer, the flow of the site, the payment processing, the sales copy, the affiliate program, and scores of other little details that can be maddening, none of which have anything directly to do with the functionality of the tool.

I can certainly see why people go the open source route, rather than trying to market their work. Aside from the simplicity of doing it for the love of it, there's also the fact that the number of loose ends to be handled can be so high that many projects would simply never get off the ground. (I think this is also why open source makes me so (J)cranky: So many of the loose ends never do get tied up, so it's the user who goes mad, rather than the creator.)

As I blogged about in February, I've swallowed my pride and purchased a PHP-based application that offers many of the features that make it possible to successfully sell a digital product online. After months of exhaustion, I came to the brilliant realization that it doesn't have to be Java, and it doesn't have to be written with my own two hands.

Given the fact that I only get a few hours a week to work on my "science projects," it can take the better part of a year to get anything worthwhile done. When you consider what my time and sanity are worth, $100 at http://www.rentacoder.com or $1000 for a turn-key marketing system are genuine bargains. To write, debug, and test either of the scripts below would have taken me over a year, and that only gets me the infrastructure to sell my software, as opposed to writing the actual product itself.

1500 people purchased Butterfly Marketing during the first round. It is back again, for a limited time.

There's also a remarkably similar-looking script for about one-fifth of the price at http://www.motivatedmarketingsystem.com/. I can't imagine it's as capable a product, but, at the price they're asking, how can you lose? It beats writing it yourself.

Moby

We took Moby hiking last weekend. It doesn't matter how recently he has, er, moved his bowels. When we go on a hike, it seems he's got a second (and sometimes a third) load in storage, saved for just such an occasion.

When Moby's done his business on a hike, he has such a look of satisfaction, as if he's accomplished something wonderful and fulfilling. And, for his genus and species, I believe he has.

My apologies for being so scatalogical. I shall now attempt to high-brow this topic.

There is an innate drive to spread "bits" of ourselves about the planet -- perhaps the universe. Animals accomplish this by lifting a leg, squatting, or, er, doggie-style. (It ain't easy to keep this even as high as middle-brow, but I'm trying. Genetic material is inherently pretty down-and-dirty stuff.)

While we humans may derive some baser pleasure from these activities, we are also driven to spread more refined bits of ourselves about, as well. Writers write. Painters paint. Coders code.

The mere act of creation, however, is not enough. We have no desire to write and hide it. Those that do are battling their own demons of insecurity, perfectionism, etc. The point of creating is to share it. (Why else do we blog, if not to be read?) Who is the more successful author, the one who writes something great that is read by a few, or the one who writes something of any quality that is read by millions? Certainly, the well-distributed author has a clear score by which to feel great pride and satisfaction. To write without an audience is pointless. (Journaling may seem to refute this, but I believe people who do this are either their own audience, learning about themselves from what they find themselves writing, or are really writing memoirs that they know or hope will be read by someone sometime.) Moby marks "his" territory, because he trusts that other dogs will notice. Otherwise, what's the point?

Do you write software so that no one will use it? Or do you take pride in such metrics as how many people, instruments, or applications use or include your software? I submit that we -- you, Moby, and I -- all share the same sense of satisfaction that we've sprinkled a bit of our "genetic" material about, and it feels good.

To that end, I am as pleased as Moby to announce the availability of WinZen, a utility that hounded me (oh, yes, pun intended) for several years before I finally created it. If you take a look at your desktop (computer or physical) and see a disorganized, cluttered mess, you know that it costs you time, energy, and focus. WinZen is a program that provides macro-level control of your windows, in an effort to bring a sense of peace and control to the chaos of your computer desktop.

Where Microsoft only allows you to drag windows, corners, or edges, WinZen lets you make your windows dance and spin at your command. Tuck a window into a corner, without aiming, tweaking, or compromising. Simply click a button, and it's there, without any muscle tension or off-by-a-pixel-or-three close-enoughs. Don't those close-enoughs bug you?

And we're just getting started. WinZen will align windows with screen edges, center them, tile windows evenly across a portion or full screen, resize or move a group of windows in unison, swap window positions, shrink one window while enlarging another, and much more. As if that were not amazing enough, new functionality is on the way. It looks cool, and it's fun to use.

Like Moby, I want to share my creation with the world. (Unlike Moby, you won't have to wipe mine off the bottom of your shoe.) There is a free version, WinZen Lite, which anyone is free to use. It will precisely tuck any window or set of windows into any corner of the screen with a click. It will also center any window or set of windows. You can download that for free at http://winzen.leegrey.com. However, in an effort to help me share all the features of this brand-new utility, for today only, you can buy the full feature set for a ridiculously low price. In an effort to get people interested, I'm practically giving WinZen away. Seriously, though, this price will not last beyond tonight at midnight, Eastern time. And I don't think you will ever see WinZen for this price again.

I hope you'll go check it out. I am interested to hear what you think. http://winzen.leegrey.com