Category Archives: Software Reviews

These articles discuss and review software products.

Catalyze – A New Community Site For Us

catalyze logo

www.mycatalyze.org. From the FAQ:

What is the Catalyze community?
Catalyze is a new member-driven community for all professionals involved in the defining and designing software applications or websites. Catalyze is a place to share experiences, find resources, ask questions, offer opinions, get involved and network with other professionals engaged in defining and designing software applications and websites.

What is the goal of the Catalyze community?
The goal of the Catalyze community is to be the number one destination for software application definition and design professionals. Peer-based content is the most powerful force for change and learning in the world today. For the first time, that power is now in the hands of the professionals that define and design the world’s software.

Who are the target members of the Catalyze community?
If you are a Business Analyst, UI Designer, Information Architect, Interaction Designer, Usability or UX Professional, Product Manager, Project Manager or anyone else involved in the definition process of a software application, then you will find value in joining the Catalyze Community.

From looking at the site, it looks like some great opportunities for all of us

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OnTime Bug tracking software – $5 (or free) from Axosoft

OnTime boxed software image (image hotlinked from Axosoft)
Seriously.

There’s a crazy deal being offered by Axosoft. Buy a 5-user version of their $500 software suite for $5, but the offer expires February 24th (2006). The link to buy the software is here – and only available on blogs. Axosoft is trying a social marketing experiment to see if they can promote their products and brand via the blog universe. It isn’t clear at what hour the offer expires, so you might want to get it on the 23rd.
Check out the demo (6 minutes). We bought the software immediately after watching the demo today. Axosoft is donating the $5 to the American Red Cross. They have already raised over $2400. I love their explanation of why it’s $5 and not free:

When we decided to move forward with this offer, we wanted to make it free. However, the Axosoft Online Store currently doesn’t have a way to do $0 transactions. All purchases through the store must have a positive dollar value. Rather than spending the time and resources to update the store to allow $0 transactions, we decided to go ahead and charge a nominal fee and donate the money to the Red Cross.

The first positive sign (for us) about the folks at Axosoft. They make rational investment decisions.
After digging around on their site, we found that they (at least for now) also have two ways to get the software for free.

OnTime 2006 installs as a 30-day multi-user trial for up to 12 users for evaluation. An activation key is NOT Required! However, for a free single-user activation key of OnTime that never expires, with no limitations (a $200 Value!), visit the Key Request Page.

Aren’t you glad you found the link at Tyner Blain?

The second positive sign about the folks at Axosoft.

After the purchase, we got a personal (form letter) email from their president, Hamid Shojaee. Marginally useful. In that email, he mentions that we should have received our product activation key in an automated email. We hadn’t. I replied to his email, and 9 minutes later had both a response from Mr. Shojaee (including my activation key) and the automated email with the activation key. With hundreds of purchases in two days, the fact that their president took the time to reply (with no way of knowing that it would show up as good PR here), impressed us again.

Is it any good?

Honestly, we don’t know yet. Since their offer is so short lived, we wanted to get the post out asap – if it is great, then getting it for $5 (or free, if you’re a one-man-shop) is fantastic. So, we’re joining in and spreading the word too. We can tell you that the windows client installs very easily and also uninstalls very easily. It does require a SQLServer database connection, so it isn’t a 30-second install. But if it isn’t what you want, it is a 30-second uninstall.

Watson from Intellext

OK, you have to go download Watson, which provides contextual search (of the web, from your desktop).

The context that it uses is whatever application is open on your desktop – specifically MS Word, Powerpoint, Outlook, IE and Firefox.

This morning I was working on a “How to design unit tests” document for my client, and I opened Watson, and I can’t tell you how good all of the links were, because the first one was so perfect. (Advanced Unit Testing, Part I – Overview, By Marc Clifton). While I was working away, I wanted to find a good link to an explanation of pair-wise testing, and in an intuitive place in the Watson UI was a widget that let me narrow my results – I entered “pair-wise”, and boom – first link again. It shows up as a sidebar on your desktop (like Trillian, ICQ and others), and can be minimized to the system tray (a lightbulb icon)
I can’t tell you anything else about it yet, because I haven’t spent more than a total of 20 seconds interacting with the interface. To me, that’s high praise for the UI. And probably record time for clearing the suck-threshold.