Stick Software News 

October 2003 edition.  Copyright © 2003 Stick Software. 

A service of Stick Software,
Contact Stick Software at our support email address

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Well, this newsletter is a last-minute affair, because my wife and I are heading out the door in just a few hours to attend my sister's wedding in Boston! So if you reply to this newsletter, you may not hear back for about two weeks.

We've only got one product update for you this time around, and no new products. The reason for that is that we've been busy with a side project that I'll talk about briefly below. But first, our product update:

Measles 2.2:  A bouncy CPU monitor & desktop companion

Download Measles (576K)   mirror1   mirror2
More Information on Measles
VersionTracker's Page on Measles
Price: $10 (Kagi) (PayPal)

Measles provides you with little bouncy spheres on your desktop which are fun and colorful. They can be configured to act as CPU monitors, changing color according to how busy your machine is, or they can use a wide variety of color schemes and fill patterns. They have lots of different options to keep you entertained, from sounds effects to transparency.

New in this version of Measles:

  • Added new settings controlling more aspects of bouncing behavior
  • Fixed a bug that could cause measles to hide behind the menu bar
  • Fixed a bug that caused console logging on launch
  • Fixed a problem with right-clicking on the measles
  • New app icon, version check code and registration panel code

The new icon for Measles was provided by widget : widget, a Mac design site. We'd like to thank them, and encourage you to visit their site, which has lots of free icons and desktop images.

The time sink

We hinted above that we've been distracted by a side project. This is not necessarily thrilling news, but we figure we should mention it in the interests of completeness.

Our side project was developing code to support a key-based registration system. The evidence has been mounting that our honor-system-based registration policy was simply losing us a large number of payments. In addition, many more users seemed confused by it than pleased by it; we frequently got emails from newly registered users asking where their key code was and why we hadn't mailed it yet. In light of all this, we decided to move towards what has now become the standard in the shareware world: registration keys and limited trial periods. Measles 2.2 is our first foray into this new realm, and we plan to put it into all of our apps soon. It took some work to iron out all of the details involved, however, including a new registration panel, a code generation algorithm, and (the most work of all) a support infrastructure for sending out the codes in a timely manner.

We now have a new, in-house payment processing application that runs 24 hours a day to service requests and payments from users. When you pay for a product, you will automatically be sent an email containing your registration codes. In addition, you can now use forms on our website to perform some common tasks:

Subscribe to & unsubscribe from our newsletter

Change the email address we have on record for you

Request an email with your registration codes

All of this works completely automatically. We hope it will be sufficient to allow us to go on vacations without coming home to a bunch of angry users, since we can't afford to hire separate support staff! If the automated stuff doesn't do it for you, and you want to talk to a human being, you can of course always use our support email address; you just may not get a reply for a little while if we're out of town. This aspect of the business is one of the more difficult parts of being a shareware developer; we hope this system we've worked out will make our users happy while allowing us a little R&R.

New support pages

A smaller project we've embarked upon is that of putting up some support-oriented web pages. Right now, here's what we have:

What is a .dmg (or "disk image") file, and how do I work with one?

How do I make an application start automatically whenever I log in?

What is a "desktop critter" and how do I control one?

These are all linked to from our basic registration & support page, If you have ideas for more, let us know! (We're not looking to write a complete manual on OS X, just to address the areas that our customers typically find most difficult or confusing about our products specifically).

And that wraps it up!

Now we're off to Boston! We hear it's cold and rainy there. Mmm...

If you've got ideas, comments, bug reports, or anything else you'd like me to see, send a note to our support email address.

Thanks for your support. Word of mouth is essential to our survival as a shareware developer. If you can help spread the word to your friends, your co-workers, or your favorite Mac OS X websites and newsletters, it would be greatly appreciated.

This newsletter is provided as a service of Stick Software, If you are receiving this newsletter, you have either requested it, or you are a friend of the author, or a mistake has been made. In any event, you can contact us at our support email address and we will remove you from our list immediately. We are opposed to unsolicited commercial e-mail, and we apologize if this newsletter has been sent to you in error.